A doula is someone who is trained in the physiology of the birth process and the emotional/physical needs of the birthing person and support person(s). A doula recognizes that the memory of birth is one that the family will remember forever and aims to make it the most positive and empowering memory possible.
Benefits of Doula Support
While continuous support from anyone is highly valuable to the birthing person, a doula has been found to have a stronger effect than any other support person.
Benefits include: (per wwwevidencebasedbirth.com)
- Shorter labors
- 28% decrease in the risk of Cesarean birth
- 12% more likely to have a vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of pain medication
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
- Higher APGAR scores for baby
- 14% decease in the risk of baby being admitted to the NICU
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with your birth
- Improved infant bonding and feeding
- Less risk of postpartum complications
- More confident birth partner(s), better experience for the whole family
I Have a Partner, Why Would I Want a Doula?
- Doulas have experience with birth, while most partners probably do not. A doula can be a reassuring presence that things are normal and going well.
- A doula can help the partner(s) be as involved as they like, guiding them in ways to comfort the birthing person.
- Since a doula is not as emotionally invested, they can provide an objective viewpoint if/when changes come up in birth.
- In a longer labor, the doula can provide breaks for the partner(s).
- Some doulas will take photos or a video so the partner(s) doesn’t need to.