Why Use a Doula?
Many people today talk about hiring a doula during labor. What is a doula and why might it be helpful to have one in the birthing room? A doula is a trained labor support person who provides extra emotional, physical and informational support to the couple before, during and after the birth. This person does not, in any way, replace the medical care that the birthing woman needs. Instead, the doula compliments this care.
How Doulas Help During Pregnancy
A doula can help you to make many decisions along the way in your pregnancy. They can help you to write your birth plan, to decide if you want to birth in a hospital, a birthing center or a home, and to contemplate using medicine. They usually sit with the couple a number of times prior to delivery, discussing the couple's needs and desires for the birth. They will explain medical procedures and prepare the couple to experience the type of birth that they desire.
How Doulas Help During Labor
Doulas can be helpful in many ways during the actual labor. They can come to your home while you're in the early stages of labor to help you. They can help you to determine if you are in labor, and when it's time to leave for the hospital or birthing center. They can offer physical support - rubbing your back, helping you to take a shower, and more. At the hospital or birthing center, they can also help you to understand any medical procedures and to make last minute decisions, should those be necessary. They offer emotional support and encouragement throughout the birth. The birth process can be very overwhelming for the spouse. He is trying to make you comfortable and make sure that all of your needs are being met by the medical team. Having an educated extra pair of hands can be very reassuring for the spouse and can ease his burden during delivery.
How Doulas Help After Delivery
Doulas can help you with breastfeeding immediately after the birth. They can help you to relax with your new baby and to enjoy the hours after delivery more. They will check up on you a number of times after delivery, ensuring that everything is going smoothly. They can answer questions about the baby's health, about your recovery and about nursing, helping to ease your transition with the new baby.
Statistics on Using Doulas
The statistics on doulas are amazing. Studies have found that having a doula can greatly help your labor. Women who hire doulas experience a 50% reduction in Caesarean deliveries, 25% shorter labors, a 60% reduction in epidural requests, and a 30% reduction in forceps deliveries. Six weeks after delivery, research has shown that women who hired doulas experienced less anxiety and depression, more confidence with their baby and more satisfaction with their partners.
Particularly for women who hope to birth naturally, a doula can be a great assistance. They help you to achieve your birthing plan and to calm your fears. They help to alleviate the burden that is placed on your partner during delivery and to make the birthing process more relaxing and fulfilling for you and your partner.