Monday, February 2, 2009

Do You Wanna Doula?

Of course you do!
art credit
And now I shall share with you all the beauties of a Doula and why you might want to consider having one at your next birth.
First, What is a doula?
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
When doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
Numerous Clinical studies, such as this one have found that a doula’s presence at birth
-Reduces the need for cesarean by 50%
-Reduces the length of labor by 25%
-Reduces the use of oxytocin by 40%
-Reduces pain medication use by 30%
-Reduces the need for forceps by 40%
-Reduces epidural requests by
Six weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas were:
-Less anxious and depressed
-Had more confidence with baby
-More satisfied w/ partner (71% vs 30%)
-More likely to be breastfeeding (52% vs. 29%)
This study can be found in “A Doula Makes the Difference”
by Nugent in Mothering Magazine, March-April 1998.
Doulas are not just for the wealthy. Many Doulas charge a fee based on a sliding scale, meaning that a percentage of your income decides the fee. Some are willing to barter services or goods. EVERY woman deserves a doula.
A story From Valerie, a brave mama whose son was delivered via Cesarean section:
"I was optimistically expecting a short, easy, uneventful, painless delivery, probably like most new mothers. That is not what happened. I had three epidurals and some additional pain medications which did not work as expected. I had not planned for the pain of delivery, and would not have been prepared for it without a doula. Even with a childbirth class behind me, my doula was much better prepared than anyone else to get me through the contractions which I could feel even with the epidurals. Moreover, because my labor had exceeded 24 hours, my family support was almost as exhausted as I was. However, my doula remained prepared and professional, and was just as able to help me through the contractions at the 30th hour as she was at the first."
Informative article HERE with another woman's experience with a doula.
A Birth Doula
-Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
-Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
-Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
-Stays with the woman throughout the labor
-Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
-Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
-Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
-Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
-A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).

A Postpartum Doula
-Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
-Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
-Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary
-A postpartum doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials PCD(DONA).


Beth said...

Thank you for that!! I can see how helpful a caring, knowledgeable woman would be during birth. Sometimes you need to be reminded of your strength instead of told you need drugs. My yoga instructor at Yoga Phoenix was a doula. At the time I was pregnant with Hudson, and I was very curious about the assistance she could provide. I never got up the courage to ask, however, and regret it. I'm glad I have you to fill me in! I would LOVE to have a doula the next time around.

Emily Ruth said...

Thank you Beth. I am so glad you found the information useful!

Kara said...

I know I would LOVE a doula. When I had Brik, he came too fast for an epidural and I was so blessed to have a nurse to coach me through. I felt so bonded to those nurses. I miss the old Banner Mesa. At Gateway, I was just a number they hardly had time or concern for. I love this blog and hope to get educated about my options so that I can have a better experince with the next one...if only insurance covered this superior health care.

Emily Ruth said...

Kara, I think you might have some skills that a doula might barter for my dear friend. Cause you deserve more support, massage and relief techniques during labor!