By: Erica Falk
Founder: Doula Spot
We know that many parents and parents to be are curious about doulas. However, many parents are curious about what a doula does! We asked Doula Spot to write us an article to explain the basics of a doula so that parents are well informed about this excellent resource!
Birth doulas accompany women in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. They provide emotional support, physical comfort, and facilitate communication with medical staff to make sure a laboring woman has the information necessary to make educated decisions during childbirth. They provide reassurance and perspective to the laboring woman and her partner, making suggestions for labor progress, and assisting with comfort techniques including relaxation, massage, positioning, and touch. A doula is independent from the hospital or birth center and works for the laboring woman and her partner.
It is my desire for parents to be fully informed about the choices they make regarding the birth of their child. I believe that every parent should be completely supported and nurtured while bringing their child into the world. A partners presence and loving support in childbirth is comforting and reassuring. The love that is shared with the mother and child, along with nurturing and protection are priceless gifts. With a woman’s partner and a doula at the birth, a mother can have the best of both worlds: her partner’s loving care and attention, and the doula’s expertise and guidance in childbirth. Having a doula at your birth can be a wonderful experience for the whole family. Mothers report a higher satisfaction level with their births after having a doula, and the statistics show that risks of intervention are lower with a doula’s presence.
One of the questions that I am always asked when talking to a couple interested in having a doula is how my role is different from the mother’s partner. What I tell them is my job is not only to support the mother, but the partner as well. The one person the laboring woman wants in the room is most often her partner. It is her partner’s face she wants to see, and it is her partner’s presence that matters most to her. My job is to free partners of stress and anxiety so they can be emotionally present for the birth. Understandably, a partner is often deeply emotionally involved in the birth, making it difficult to meet both his or her own needs and those of the laboring woman. With a doula present, a partner is never left as the sole support person responsible for caring for the mother and all of her needs. It is important that both parents are nurtured at this sensitive time so they can more easily transition into their new roll as parents. * 50% reduction in the cesarean rate * 25% shorter labor * 60% reduction in epidural requests * 40% reduction in oxytocin use * 30% reduction in analgesia use * 40% reduction in forceps delivery These figures are taken from the book “Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth” by Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell, Phyllis H. Klaus