What is a doula?
Simply put, doulas are non-medical professionals who have been trained to provide women with both physical and emotional support in labor and birth. A doula is typically the only person on your care team who can focus 100% on you and your partner during the birthing process. Doula support takes many shapes. Emotionally, doulas provide reassurance, relaxation techniques, and their peaceful presence. They provide physical support through a variety of methods such as massage, counter pressure, position changes, and rhythmic movement. Doulas also provide education, both prenatally and during the birth, helping you to better understand the processes and changes that are taking place, as well as your options should complications arise. More than anything, doulas hold a space of complete confidence in a woman's ability to birth her baby, and work to make sure that every woman feels loved and supported in her choices and decisions throughout the birthing process.
Why should I have a doula at my birth?
Whether you are planning to have an unmedicated birth, are looking forward to an epidural, or have a scheduled c-section, a doula can support you and your family in the ways outlined above.
According to current research, women receiving doula support are 28% less likely to have a cesarean birth, 31% less likely to use a synthetic form of oxytocin, such as Pitocin, to augment labor, 9% less likely to use any pain medication at all during labor, and 34% less likely to describe their birth experience negatively. While women who receive support from an untrained partner or friend are more likely to view her birth experience positively, their likelihood of requiring obstetric interventions is unchanged.
Would you like to know more?
Here are some great websites with more information about what doulas do and the evidence behind doula care.
“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” John H. Kennell