Every Pregnancy Needs a Doula. Here's Why.

alex-hockett-366365-unsplash.jpg

dou·la

ˈdo͞olə/ (pronounced doo-la)

noun

A doula can be seen as a trained and experienced personal coach for birth and believes in mothering the mother before, during and after childbirth. Having a doula as part of your maternity team can help you have a positive and safe birthing journey and feel more empowered and prepared to make decisions on childbirth for you and your baby. To expand on this definition, doulas are truly magical confidence boosters!

Doulas specialize in various comfort techniques such as massage, aromatherapy, labour positioning, homeopathy remedies, herbal tinctures-all with the intention to relax mama and embrace the experience rather than fear it.  

Hiring a doula is truly an important option for parents. And if you’re wondering if you should hire a doula for your pregnancy, the answer is a resounding yes!

What is the role of a doula?

A doula will:

  • Help you understand your options and support your decision (whether you choose medicated, natural or cesarean)

  • Share evidence based information

  • Be there to provide comfort, emotional support and advocacy throughout your pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period

  • Remind you if there is a change in your birth ideals that you have shared

  • Discuss your concerns with you and suggest options (but you and your partner will speak to clinical staff on your behalf)  

  • Help initiate breastfeeding after birth if you so desire

  • Can provide support and guidance for partners and siblings

  • Support you with infant feeding, care and answer any questions you might have about your birthing experience, recovery, life with a newborn and baby wearing.

  • Work together with you to find community resources or anything that may be of concern

However, there are some things that a doula does NOT do which is important for expecting parents to understand. The role of a doula is one of nonintervention and non-medical.  

  • Perform clinical tasks (blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams etc.)

  • Make medical decisions on your behalf

  • Replace midwife, doctor or partner

  • Attend unassisted births  (There needs to be midwifery care with attendance.)

  • Drive you to the hospital (in the event on an emergency the role will be to call 911)

More mothers are choosing to hire a doula as part of their maternity team, and evidence shows that women who have had a doula by their side throughout their birthing journey, reported fewer interventions and proven to impact birth outcomes and experiences across populations and cultures.

Research shows:

  • 25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean; the largest effect was seen with a doula (39% decrease)

  • 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth; the largest effect was seen with a doula (15% increase)

  • 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief; the type of person providing continuous support did not make a difference

  • Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference

  • 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference

  • 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience; mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was reduced with continuous support provided by a doula or someone in their social network (family or friend), but not hospital staff

Source: Source: Evidence Based Births

Doulas are important to women because their sole purpose is to provide physical, emotional, and informational support during labor and birth without doing anything medical
— Ami Burns, a childbirth educator and doula in Chicago and the founder of Birth Talk (birthtalk.com)

Even if you’re not sure if using a doula for extra support is right for you, sometimes it helps to interview several and just see if you find someone who really clicks with you, it’s definitely worth a try, for every woman deserves an empowering birthing journey.

 

Nikki Nguyen is currently a mom of 2 under 2, step mom, Registered Early Childhood and Development Educator and Certifying Doula and lives in Woodstock, New Brunswick. Learn more about Nikki's doula services here