What does a doula do?+ Recognizes birth as a key experience the parent/s will remember all their life+ Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional and physical needs of a laboring person+ Assists the parent/s in preparing for and carrying out their preferences for birth+ Stays with the parent/s throughout the labor+ Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping parent/s get the information they need to make informed decisions+ Facilitates communication between the laboring person, partner and care providers+ Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the memory of the birth experience+ Allows the partner to participate at his/her comfort level
What are the benefits of having a doula?Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth+ Tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications+ Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience+ Reduces the need for labour inducing drugs, forceps or vacuum extraction and c-births+ Reduces the request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Research shows parents who receive continuous support can+ Feel more secure and cared for+ Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics+ Have greater success with breastfeeding+ Have greater self-confidence+ Have less postpartum depression+ Have lower incidence of abuse
Further backing the use of doulas:
The World Health Organization updated it's recommendations in February 2018 for 'Intrapartum care for a positive birth', highlighting the importance of continuity of care and choice of support companions. The Cochrane (medical research organization) review on continuous support for women during childbirth, published July 2017. Evidence Based Birth’s page on the evidence in support of doulas! This includes facts, figures and lots of wonderful, wonderful statistics. And this lovely article on Birth Takes a Village about what doulas REALLY do.