WHAT IS A DOULA?
Historically, women in childbirth have counted on the wisdom and support of other women in their community to nurture and guide them into motherhood. Today's doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve her own definition of the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible. A doula does not perform any medical tasks, such as vaginal exams and receiving the infant at birth, as the midwife or OBGYN would do.
WHY SHOULD I HIRE A DOULA?
There is incredible evidence that shows how birth doulas improve birth outcomes! Compared to women who had no continuous support, women with companions (especially trained doulas) who were neither on the hospital staff nor in the woman's social network were:
12% more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth
28% less likely to have a cesarean section
31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin) to speed up labor
9% less likely to use any pain medication
34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively
14% less likely to have newborn admitted into the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)
These findings are staggering! The doula plays a unique role not only in positively affecting the woman's satisfaction with the birth experience, but also in limiting the amount of medical interventions a woman will utilize and increasing the health of the newborn. A doula's support goes beyond what friends and family can offer. Our training and experience provides greater well-being for both mother and baby.
MY PARTNER IS SUPPORTIVE...WHY DO I NEED A DOULA?
A doula complements your partner and even provides them with physical and emotional support to be as involved as they would like to be with the birth. The role of your partner is vital in that they love and understand you more than anyone else in the room. Your partner also has a great emotional investment in the baby. You and your partner will share the experience of this birth for your entire lifetime. No one can replace that special bond.
The doula is different from your partner in that she is typically more equipped to understand the emotions and physiology of labor. She is also trained in managing and coping with labor pain through countless different techniques. She has the ability to remain calm and objective and can offer perspective on problems or options in childbirth. The doula has experience with other women in childbirth and knowledge of doctor, midwife, and hospital policies. Together, your partner and doula make a great team to support you in your birth.
DO YOU ONLY SUPPORT NATURAL HOMEBIRTHS?
No. As your doula, my goal is to support you in whatever birth you desire. No matter the location, care provider, or degree of medical intervention you choose, my goal remains to help you achieve your best birth. Emotional, physical, and informational support are necessary in all sorts of birth environments.
ARE YOU CERTIFIED WITH ANY ORGANIZATION?
Yes. I am a certified birth doula through DONA International, "the world's first, largest, and leading doula organization." I chose to certify with DONA because of their commitment to high-quality, evidence-based support for any person who wants it.