People choose to hire doulas for many reasons, maybe they live far from family, they may be single parents, they may have had a traumatic experience when birthing their previous child. However, the one thing they have in common is the need for a little extra support and the desire to create the best possible environment for birthing their baby. As your doula I can offer that support along with the ability to create a safe environment in which you will be able to trust in your body's ability to birth your baby.
Research has shown that having a doula with you through childbirth can: Shorten the length for labour by 25% Reduce the need for pain relief by 30% Reduce epidural requests by 60% Decrease caesarean section rate by 50% Enhance the birth experience for both mother and father Increase the likelihood of successful breastfeeding
Why do I need a doula? Won't my birth partner be enough?
A doula's role is very different from that of your birth partner, doulas do not replace or push aside the partner. Birth partners come in many varieties. Husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend, mum, auntie, sister or friend and sometimes no birth partner at all. They may have little or no knowledge about birth, medical procedures, or what goes on in a hospital. Doulas work alongside your partner providing support for them too, reassuring them along the way. This is where I come in...I am used to working in a hospital environment, I talk their lingo and can converse with the staff on their level. Importantly, I can translate the medical jargon into a language that you understand and by providing you with information I can empower you (and your partner) and enable you to make the right choices for your birth.
"Asking your husband to be your sole guide through labour is like asking him to lead the way on a climb of Mount Everest. He may be smart and trustworthy, you may love him, but in the Himalayas you'd both be a lot better off with a Sherpa!" (Pam England on hiring a doula).
The Technical stuff...the Evidence.
An independent review of over 15,000 women found that supportive care during labour may involve emotional support, comfort measures, information and advocacy. These may enhance physiologic labour processes as well as women's feelings of control and competence, and reduce the need for obstetric intervention. Women who received continuous labour support were more likely to give birth spontaneously i.e. give birth with neither caesarean, ventouse or forceps. Women were less likely to use pain medications, were more likely to be satisfied, and had slightly shorter labours. Their babies were less likely to have low five-minute Apgar* scores. No adverse effects were identified. The review concluded that all women should have continuous support during labour. Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman's social network, is experienced in providing labour support, and has at least a modest amount of training, appears to be most beneficial. i.e. a doula! *An Apgar score is an test on newborn babies to see if they require any medical support
Women who have a doula are statistically more likely to feel less pain when a doula is present. Furthermore, by avoiding epidural anaesthesia, women may avoid many medical interventions that often go along with an epidural, including Pitocin (syntocinon) augmentation and continuous electronic fetal monitoring (Caton, Corry et al. 2002).
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