Doulas are trained and certified professionals who offer support for the mother and family during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Doulas are not medical professionals. They offer a judgment-free education. They are trained in the physiology of childbirth, comfort measures for childbirth, common interventions and evidence-based care. Although birth doulas have been around for a very long time and the use of doulas is on the rise, many people still don’t know what they do or what the benefits are for having one during labor and delivery. Here are 10 great reasons to have a doula by your side through pregnancy and childbirth!
Certified doulas are trained in childbirth physiology and in common interventions. Doulas share their knowledge and passion for childbirth with their clients in order to educate them on likely outcomes and possible interventions. Doulas often have great resources for expecting moms and families like community connections, books, websites, etc. Doulas are great at helping expecting families sort through the vast amount of information available and at pointing them toward the information that will be the most useful and important to them.
For many expecting mothers and families, support is the biggest and most important reason that they choose to have a doula. Doulas offer continuous care throughout labor and delivery and the short time just after baby arrives. They are open, compassionate, and caring people who seek to support women during labor by offering encouragement, reminding moms of their birthing plans, explaining any interventions that may arise, and just generally “being there” for moms and families throughout the childbirth. The presence of a doula is primarily helpful for the mother, but also very helpful for her partner or other untrained support people. Doulas help to guide others in assisting the mother and also are there so that other family support people are able to take breaks, get food, or care for other children.
8 Positive Feelings
Women who are supported by a doula for labor and delivery tend have more positive feelings about childbirth. This is likely because doulas work with mothers ahead of time to reassure them of their power and natural abilities. Doulas are encouraging and help moms and partners feel more comfortable with the process of childbirth by educating them and offering them options to explore their personal preferences for childbirth.
7 Shorter Labor Time
This is probably a good enough reason in and of itself for most women to have a doula! Evidence suggests that births supported by a doula are 40 mins shorter on average than non-doula supported births. This could be for many reasons but likely because mothers with a doula by their side throughout labor are often more confident and at ease. Doulas are also trained to help guide them in breathing and positioning techniques which may help baby arrive that little bit quicker!
6 Spontaneous Natural Delivery
Women who are supported by a certified doula are more likely to have a spontaneous natural delivery. This type of delivery is generally preferable since it is the least stressful for mom and baby. There are many interventions that can and do happen during childbirth on a regular basis some are milder (inducing) and some are more intrusive (c-section). Because of the way that some healthcare professionals view childbirth as a medical event, women are sometimes offered these interventions before they become a necessity. Doulas help to advocate for their clients to ask questions and stick to their birthing plan whenever possible, just this gentle support can be the difference of a woman receiving an intervention during labor or not.
5 Less Need For Pain Meds
Women who are supported by a doula throughout childbirth are 10% less likely to use pain medications or epidural. It is hypothesized that this is because the presence of a doula is a source of pain relief in and of itself. By the doula offering compassion and support, laboring mothers are soothed and naturally feel less pain. They are also, on average, more prepared for the experience of childbirth and therefore more able to cope with the pain without the use of medication or epidural.
4 Less Likely To Need Interventions
Yet another amazing benefit to having a doula by your side during your labor and delivery is that it also lowers the likelihood of needing delivery interventions like the use of forceps or a vacuum. Again it is hard to tell exactly why that is, but there are several reasons why this may be the case. A big part of that is the natural soothing effect that a doula has for the woman in labor, this helps the laboring mom to relax and open up for delivery. Doulas also help coach and remind moms to use effective breathing and positioning techniques which help ease delivery. The third reason is that the comforting presence and touch of the doula increases the oxytocin which is what causes the uterus to contract during labor and after as it shrinks back to its normal size.
3 Less Likely To Need A C-Section
Again a good enough reason in and of itself to have a doula at your birth! For much the same reasons as above, bits assisted by doulas are 12% Less likely to result in a Caesarean section. When moms are at ease, comforted and confident, births are much more likely to proceed naturally.
2 Better Outcome For Baby
The APGAR test is the most common test that doctors or midwives do for babies following their births. It results in a score from 1-10, 10 being the most healthy possible. It is based in the baby’s breathing, color, muscle tone, heart rate, and reflexes. Babies delivered with doula support have higher APGAR scores in general. Babies born without a doula have a 38% higher chance of having a low APGAR score. When mama is calm, confident, and supported it results in better outcomes for the baby.
1 Satisfaction With Birthing Experience
Overall mothers who delivered with a doula by their side were more satisfied with their birthing experience. Mothers not supported by doulas were 38% more likely to report that they were dissatisfied with the experience of childbirth. Doulas help mothers envision, prepare for, and achieve the births that they are comfortable with, leading to more satisfaction with the process. Even if the birth has to go off plan, doulas are there to help explain options and comfort the mom and families in the event that interventions should arise,