WHAT IS A DOULA?
A doula literally means one who serves and supports.
A modern day professional doula provides continuous physical, mental and emotional support for both mom and partner before, during and after birth. A doula understands the stages of labor and can assist with breathing, suggest positions and help create connecting with partner and their involvement.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. Recent statistics have shown that women with continual support can expect:
- 50% reduction in Cesarean Births
- 40% reduction in Pitocin use
- 30% less likely to use analgesia meds for pain
- 60% less epidural requests
- 41% reduction in vacuum extraction and forceps deliveries
- 25% shorter labors
- 33% less likely to be dissatisfied with or negatively rate their birth experience
WHY USE A DOULA?
During Labor – continual support and coaching is medically proven to make a real difference in the birth experience, decreasing interventions and increasing satisfaction.
Postpartum – helping to ease the transition of a new family and reducing risks of mood disorders.
Effects On Babies – fewer special care hospitals and shorter hospital stays when doula is present as well as successful breastfeeding and better bonding.
For Partners – helping to reassure the importance of their role and guidance in how to be involved on the level that is comfortable for them. A doula can bring confidence in the birth and during the postpartum period.
As doula’s, we have seen first hand how encouraging, comforting, strengthening, educating, coaching and guiding a mother during childbirth provides not only a helping hand but the assurance that she is not alone! Our only job is to focus on mom and her well-being. Here are a few to the important aspects of a doula’s role in birth:
- To help mom feel secure and confident in her abilities to deliver her baby
- to gently reminder her that she is handling and managing beautifully
- to show her focused breathing to help alleviate pain
- find comfortable but effective laboring positions
- to sooth any doubts away with stress relieving techniques
“If you’re looking to have a natural birth then get in touch with the Waco Doula group. They are truly a part of our team.” -LDR nurses at Providence Hospital
WHY A DOULA IS PART OF A TEAM?
Women need many things in the child birthing process. A doula plays only one role on the birthing team. Who are the other key players? Of course, your primary care-giver (Dr or midwife), your nurse and your partner all have a role in LDR. First your care-giver is the medical authority that you have hired to ensure the health and safety of you and your baby during birth. She/he is has the medical expertise and training to deliver your baby when the time comes. Next we have the nurse that is assigned to you once you arrive at the hospital. Her job is vital in having a positive birth experience. She represents the hospital and all of the procedures that take place as well as keeps tabs on you and your baby in order to relay information to your care-giver. She has many responsibilities and most of the time, other patients. Nurses make sure that you have what you need and keep things running smoothly. Because you have a Dr/midwife and a nurse, doulas do not do anything medical. We do not prescribe or diagnose. That is your care-givers job. Doulas should not undermine your caregiver or the nurse’s position as the hospitals employee. We all have our role and we do not trip over one another if we are doing the jobs we are there to do. The constant attention to mom frees up the nurse to focus on her tasks at hand. The fact that you have your medical advisors means that a doula does not have to monitor you and baby for emergencies which allows us to do a better job….supporting you!
What about dad? Your husband or partner brings what no one else can bring, an intimate knowledge and connection with you. This is where you will feel your emotion and remember why you’re there in the first place, to bring your child into the world. Such an amazing experience and your loved one is there to love you through it. To hear that he is proud of you or thinks your beautiful would mean nothing coming from me. Only the people closest to you have access to your heart. This role can only be filled by him! Because of this, a doula will naturally support the dad (or loved one) and give him confidence in the power that he has during the childbirth experience.