Benefits of Doula Support
· 26% less likely to give birth by cesarean
· 41% less like to give birth with vacuum
extraction or forceps(1)
· 28% less likely to use epidural or other anesthesia(1)
· Enhanced breastfeeding(2)
· Better maternal-infant interaction(2)
· Less postpartum depression, anxiety, and greater self-esteem(2)
· Greater satisfactions with the birth experience(2)
(1)Maternity Center Association
(2)Compiled by Penny Simkin
What in the world is a doula?
Doula is a Greek word that means "female servant", but we use it to refer to a "professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth" (DONA). See this page for a list of things a doula does.
How will it benefit me to have a doula at my birth?
Research has shown that continuous doula support provides the following benefits: lower rates of obstetrical interventions, including epidurals, pitocin augmentation, and cesarean birth, better breastfeeding, better mother-baby interaction, less postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, greater self-esteem, higher maternal assessment of her baby, and greater satisfaction with the birth experience (Penny Simkin 2006).
If I have a supportive partner, should I still consider having a doula at my birth?
Yes! A doula is there to support the laboring woman AND her partner. She can suggest and model ways for the partner to support the laboring woman, as well as give the partner a break to nap or eat when needed. She also provides a calming presence because of her experience with the birth process.
If I'm not sure what kind of birth I want, do I need a doula?
A doula is beneficial in any type of birth setting, be it home birth, hospital birth, unmedicated birth, medicated birth, or cesarean birth. She can help you plan for your birth and address your questions and concerns. She can also advocate for you during your birth to make sure that it is the best experience possible, no matter what the circumstances.
I'm planning a homebirth. Should I hire a doula?
Many midwives do not provide labor support in the way that a doula does. Although a midwife provides continuous care during your birth, she is primarily concerned with the health and safety of mother and baby. A doula's primary concern is the comfort and emotional well-being of the mother, and she provides continuous physical and emotional support during the birth. A doula can also be with you before the midwife arrives, in early labor or in the beginnings of active labor. She can also support your partner by suggesting positioning and comfort measures for the two of you do to together. Doulas love homebirth!
How can I find a doula?
Check out this page, and also check out DONA's website for a list of doulas in your city.