According to a 2013 Cochrane Database Systematic Review, “continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants and no known harm. All women should have support throughout labour and birth."
Research shows that women who use a doula are/have:
less likely to need Pitocin
less likely to have a cesarean birth
less likely to use any pain medication
more likely to rate their childbirth experience positively
a sense that someone bears witness to your experience
a caring presence to reduce fear
a consistent supporter to mother and family despite staff shift changes
reduced postpartum mood disorders
improved breastfeeding success
What does the Doula do at the birth?
Hands-on comfort measures like comforting touch, counter pressure, breathing techniques and other practical help for families. Doulas also have skills in positioning a woman in labour to achieve the most comfortable and optimal birthing posture, helping baby find its way through the pelvis. Other skills and tools may be offered for comfort such as rebozo, TENS, birth balls, and heat/cold application.
Doulas help families to feel supported, easing the emotional experience of birth and also helping to create a space where the hormones of labor can work at their best. Whether a birth is completely unmedicated or medically very complex, every family can benefit from nurturing and connection that a doula can foster during the birth.
Whether it’s a partner, a friend or another family member, the birth partner’s experience matters. Doulas are there to support every birth partner in being as involved as they’d like with the birth. Physical and emotional support make a huge difference for everyone involved. As the birth partner you know the labouring woman, and your doula knows birth, that makes a great support team.
Evidence-Based Information and Advocacy
DONA International doulas are trained to help families connect with evidence-based resources so they can ask great questions and make informed decisions about their births. Our doulas serve as a bridge of communication between women and their providers, lifting them up to help them find their voices and advocate for the very best care.
How can a Doula help me after the baby arrives?
The transition into new parenthood can be vulnerable, and postpartum doulas are experts in emotional support, active listening and encouraging new moms and dads to follow their own hearts. Empathy and encouragement go along with information to build confident families.
Evidence-Based Information and Support
Postpartum doulas are trained to understand what new babies – and new mothers – truly need. The doula helps with soothing techniques, offers breastfeeding or bottle feeding support, and explains normal newborn behaviour, and normal post-pregnancy changes.
Once baby has arrived, you may find that extra hands are needed in taking care of things. The transition from none to one, or adding another (or more) at any time requires an adjustment by every member of the family. Care could include the basics of breastfeeding, bottle feeding support, instruction in baby care, laundry, meal preparation, sibling care, accompanied outings, errands, light housework, assistance with organizing the flow of your day, and establishing routines, giving your family time to rest, renew, and bond with your new baby.
Partner and Sibling Support
A new baby means transition for everyone, including parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters. Postpartum doulas understand that everyone has needs, and part of their role is to help the entire family adjust and settle in.
(information from DONATMInternational 2016)
Why should I have a Doula?
"a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible." (from DONA International)