A Birth Doulas role is to provide emotional and physical support throughout labor and delivery. It is important to note that although doulas are often associated with natural birth, they are extremely helpful in any situation. Families preparing for high risk / high stress births can benefit immensely from the consistent and personal care of a doula.
Twenty-two studies that included over 15,000 women showed the benefits of continuous labor support for women during pregnancy and birth…
“Overall, women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth … For most of these outcomes, the best results occurred when woman had continuous labor support from a doula— someone who was NOT a staff member at the hospital and who was NOT part of the woman’s social network.” ( Evidence Based Birth )
A Doula’s presence can:
- result in parents who are more informed and able to make better decisions
- reduce the need of pain medication in labor
- result in shorter labor with less complications
- reduce the chance of cesarean
- decrease negative feelings about birth
- result in more successful breastfeeding rates
- result in shorter hospital stays
- reduce the risk of postpartum depression
Doulas can also provide care for mothers in the often neglected 4th trimester. In the postpartum period it is crucial for mothers to rest, bond with their precious babes, and adjust to the new rhythm of life. A Postpartum Doula can care for mom, baby, or siblings, provide information, education, and much more.
The role of a Sibling Doula is to provide support for children preparing for the birth of a sibling and during the birth itself. This can be an exciting but also scary time for young children and the care of a Doula can provide great relief to both child and parents. More details on the Sibling Doula Services page.
My Doula Services Agreement goes into the details of what a doula does and does not do.
DONA International – Why Use a Doula
Evidence Based Birth – The Benefits of a Doula