Labor Doula Birth Support
What is a doula?
A doula is a professional birth assistant. She has been trained to support mothers throughout the course of their pregnancy, labor, birth, and through the postpartum period. A doula helps laboring mothers and their partners prepare for the birth of their baby by providing them with resources and working with them to determine what their ideal birth might look like. Once mom goes into labor, a doula can help mom stay comfortable, recommend positions to help labor progress, give partners suggestions on how be involved, and help parents navigate hospital policy and make choices they may face during the course of labor. Your doula will provide you with information and emotional support, regardless of what your choices or birth plan entail.
Doctors, midwives, and nurses will all be attending to a number of laboring mothers, which means that they will be in and out of your room. Your doula will be by your side for the duration of the birth, giving you her undivided attention.
Having a birth doula at your labor has been scientifically shown to improve birth outcomes, including a reduction in labor time and an increase in the mother's satisfaction, whether the birth goes according to plan or not.
What about epidurals, cesareans, and unexpected outcomes?
There's a common misconception that women who plan to use an epidural for pain relief or who need to plan a scheduled cesarean can't benefit from hiring a doula, or that doulas do not want to work with these families. We support all pregnancy, birth, and parenting choices. Our job is to make your experience the most positive it can be.
Hiring a doula for a medicated birth (using an epidural or other forms of medical pain relief) can be very beneficial for your labor and birth. Even when mom doesn't need a doula to assist with pain management, your doula can make suggestions to keep labor moving and help you work with your body and your baby. As in all births, she will provide you with valuable information when making decisions for your family.
There are circumstances during pregnancy which make it necessary to plan a cesarean birth. Even when you're planning a scheduled cesarean, your doula can help make your birth more comfortable. She will meet with you beforehand to assist you in determining your priorities. When you go to the hospital, she will accompany you and stay with you throughout the surgery (according to the hospital's protocols) and help you get settled in recovery.
Regardless of the type of birth you're planning and what your preferences are, a doula can help you have a more satisfying experience on your baby's birth day.
What about partners?
Partners, you don't have to worry about your doula taking over your important role in the birth of your baby. Doulas can give partners suggestions on helping Mom stay comfortable and focused. They can spell you if labor runs long, giving you a chance to rest or eat without worry about leaving Mom alone. You may feel concerned seeing Mom in pain, and a doula can remind you about the intensity of normal labor, and that Mom and Baby are fine. A doula also supports YOU throughout the labor so that you and Mom get to have the best possible experience on your baby's birth day.
Partners and doulas make the perfect team. A doula has extensive training and knowledge about the course of normal childbirth, so you won't need to remember everything you learned during your childbirth education class; you are an expert on how to keep Mom relaxed.
Doulas can have a lasting impact on your future relationship. A study on doula care in 1991 found that 71% of first-time mothers giving birth with a doula reported that their relationship with their partner was improved after giving birth, compared to only 30% in the no-doula group. By six weeks postpartum, 85% of the doula moms reported increased satisfaction with their partners, compared to only 49% of the no-doula group.