What is a Birth Doula?
Doulas, or labor assistants, provide constant and attentive care for laboring women and their partners. While they do not provide medical care, they do provide emotional and physical support for families by utilizing techniques such as massage, touch, position, relaxation, breathing, and more. Doulas help reinforce a woman's trust in her body's natural abilities.
Doulas do not replace mom's birth partner, but rather act to assist mom and her partner in having the birth experience they desire. They can help partners become more involved in the experience and fully participate by providing ideas and information. Doulas are there to support families through whatever they wish, be that a medicated or non-medicated delivery. They can also help families cope with unexpected changes or events, such as the need for interventions or a Cesarean Section.
What are the Benefits of Working with a Doula?
There are a many reasons to have a doula by your side during delivery. Recent studies involving more than 1,000 women have shown that the presence of a doula during labor and delivery has the following benefits:
- Shorter labor
- Lower levels of fear and anxiety
- Higher satisfaction with the birth experience
- Reduced pain medication and epidural rates
- Lower Cesarean Section rates
- Reduced need for vacuum or forceps assistance
- Improved communication with the medical team
- Lower levels of stress hormones
- More successful breastfeeding
- Improved neonatal outcomes
- Lowered chances of postpartum depression
- Continuous, uninterrupted support for mom and her partner
- Improved parent-infant interaction and bonding