What better way to celebrate and kick off International Doula Month than to talk about some of the benefits of hiring a doula?
In order to make the decision of whether a doula is right for you, we first need to talk about what a doula is and what they do.
A doula by definition is:
"a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a birthing person and their partner before, during and shortly after childbirth to help them achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible."
There are numerous research articles on the benefits of hiring a doula .. if you're a birth nerd, like myself, here is one of my favorite links to read through for yourself.
Check out this information from Evidence Based Birth
Some of my take aways from this article and the research provided are:
A doula's primary role is to support the birthing person, our responsibility and care is solely provided to the parents, not to the providers, nurses, doctors or midwives.
Doula's provide care through offering physical, emotional and informational support as well as advocacy.
A beautiful definition of advocacy was presented in this article
"Advocacy is defined as supporting the birthing person in their right to make decisions about their own body and baby."
Advocacy is not speaking on behalf of your client, it's more about encouraging them to ask questions, supporting their desires for their birth experience, holding or creating space for them to obtain information and make decisions without feeling pressured, and facilitating communication between trusted care providers and clients.
Some ways that a doula might support a birthing person physically are:
Offering massage or comfort measures
Helping to and from the bathroom
Applying warmth or cool washcloths
Feeding or offering hydration
Some examples of emotional support might be:
Praise and Encouragement
Helping talk through fears concerns or self doubt
Reviewing the birth experience
Informational Support might look like:
Suggesting position changes to help progress labor
Suggesting relaxation techniques and assistance with focus
Helping find evidence based information to facilitate communication with their provider
Helping the client understand and prepare questions for medical procedures
Helping the birthing person and their partner understand what is happening throughout pregnancy and during labor
These lists are not all inclusive .. just some examples of ways that your doula might care for you during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
The benefits of having continuous support at your birth are amazing!
Better physical and psychological outcomes
Increased satisfaction with overall birth experience
Lowered cesarean rates
Decreased need for pharmaceutical pain relief
I hope you'll take the time to read the linked article and research more about the benefits of having a doula on your care team and the importance of support throughout your pregnancy and birth.
If you'd like more information or would like to schedule an in person consult, give us a shout! I'd love to see if I'm a good fit for you and your family, or help you find a doula that is best for you!
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 270-599-0041