Congratulations! Your pregnant!! It does not matter if this is your first pregnancy, or your fifth, each one is unique and different. Pregnancy can be a scary and difficult time for some mothers, and an empowering time full of excitement for others. Regardless of your current emotional status with your pregnancy, hiring a birth doula can be the best choice you can make. (Not only for you, but also for your husband, boyfriend, or other support team!)
What is a doula you ask? A miracle worker!! Doula is a Greek word that means "woman's servant", and that is exactly what a doula is. A doula is a professional who is trained in childbirth and provides continuous support to a mother before, during, and after birth.
During pregnancy, a doula is often on call for her clients 24/7 to answer any pregnancy questions and concerns. She also helps the new parents develop a birth plan. Most doulas will also go to two prenatal appointments with their clients. It is very important to obtain a relationship with your doula prior to birth if at all possible.
During labor, a doula offers support, encouragement, offers non-medical pain relief and relaxation, helps with positioning, answers questions and helps to gather information, and also helps a mom communicate with her health team. The doula will help the mother's other birth partner if he/she needs to step out of the room. The doula never leaves the mothers side during this process. It is important to remember that a doula does not give medical support, and does not diagnose. She is not to take the place of a midwife or OB/GYN.
There are several studies that show the benefits of a doula. I have compiled a list of a few of these benefits, but feel free to Google them for yourself. You will NOT be disappointed! According to a Cochrane Review published in 2012 and a review by American Pregnancy, women who use a doula experience a:
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
- 28% decrease in the risk of C-section
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 14% decrease in the risk of her newborn being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience.
- decreases labor by 25%
- 60% less chance of needing an epidural
- 40% less chance of needing oxytocin
In Louisville Kentucky, there is an abundance of doulas. They help deliver at birthing centers as well as hospitals. The staff at hospitals are use to doulas, and welcome their support. Even Dr. Roger Harms at the Mayo Clinic sings the praises of doulas. So why don't we have more in the Purchase Area of Kentucky? That is a great question, and we are currently working on changing that! There are a few doulas that are coming to this area, and we are trying to branch out to clients in Madisonville, Paducah, Murray, and Mayfield Kentucky. That's right, getting the "big city" benefits of a doula is now possible in this area! (and our most expensive package that includes everything, is the basic package in the bigger cities)
Regardless if you are wanting a natural birth, medicated birth, VBAC, if you are a single mom, pregnant with multiples, experiencing a pregnancy with a special needs baby, or some other situation, there is a doula for you! Follow me on Facebook and check out the website. Do not let money be an issue. The local doulas offer payment plans, and even have a scholarship (and partial scholarship) program to those who qualify to help offset some of the cost. So the next time you are in the delivery room, make sure to have your doula!
*make sure to watch out for the next article of non-traditional and traditional childbirth classes coming to this area from Certified Childbirth Educators offering both private and group sessions!