How a Doula Makes Your Birth Easier
- Doulas increase your chances of having a normal, vaginal birth. Statistics show that when possible, it is safest and best for mother and baby to have a vaginal birth, and the support of a doula can help families avoid the OR. We all know that there are times when it is best to have a Cesarean birth, and we also know that the Cesarean rate is higher than most research shows is necessary. Doulas can help provide information to empower families to choose care providers, birth locations, and options during labor to have the safest, healthiest birth outcome possible.
- Doulas can help you form realistic expectations about your birth. Do online birth plans include many options…but how many of those are actually happening at your local hospital? If you want to labor in water but your provider doesn’t offer that choice, a doula will know that (or know how to find out). Would you like the option to push standing up or on all fours? Your doula will be able to tell you if this is an option in your birth location.
- Doulas decrease the use of drugs including Pitocin, epidurals, and narcotics during labor. Want an epidural? Don’t want an epidural? Either way, your doula will support your choice. However, women using a doula are asking for less pain medication than those who labor without a doula. This means laboring women are more comfortable and this is good!
- Doulas increase the rates of breastfeeding initiation. Doulas have training in lactation and resources for helping before and after the baby is born. Sometimes just having support and encouragement is all a new mom needs to make breastfeeding work, and doulas are trained to support women with breastfeeding.
- Doulas mean higher APGAR scores and fewer NICU admissions. There are many reasons for this statistic, one of which probably has to do with the first statement in this post – having a doula present reduces the risk of having a Cesarean delivery. Happier and healthier babies – who can argue with that?
- Doulas help dads be amazing! Dads understand that they want to be supportive during birth, but they often don’t know-how. A doula can demonstrate exactly how to do a great hip squeeze, coach the dad to praise the mom as she labors, and be a reassuring presence when dad needs a reminder that things are progressing normally.
- Doulas’ clients report higher levels of satisfaction with their birth experience. So often, the phrase “healthy baby, healthy mom” is said as though that is the only goal of birth. Having a good experience and being healthy are not mutually exclusive. Doulas provide continuous care and relational support no matter what happens during labor. It is the support and respect during labor that increases the satisfaction of the women doulas service. Even women whose birth varies from the one they imagined feel better about the experience when they had a doula.
Every Birth Is Different
Giving birth is by no means easy but a natural process of the body. With the support and encouragement of a Doula, your birth could become a magical and enjoyable birth experience versus a hard and scary event. No matter what your labor and birth may bring a Doula is there to show support, lift you up and give you the courage to know that you can do it and it will be okay.
Maria Pokluda has been a doula in the Dallas area since 2007. She trains doulas with BEST Doula Training (www.bestdoulatraining.com) and has helped hundreds of families have happy BIRTHdays. Maria is Founder of Great Expectations Birth Services and voted “Voted Best Doula in North Texas”.