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5 Reasons to Hire a Doula

Are you dreaming of your birth with many swirling emotions? 

Would you like to have a safe, gentle birth with respect and love? 

Are you afraid of the pain and wondering if you can do it? 

Are you confused? 

 

There are so many options and stories it’s hard to know what is best.

A doula can make the difference to help you achieve the birth you desire!

Here are my top 5 reasons to consider a doula 

  1. Ask yourself – Who will provide you with continuous support, both emotional and physical and guide you to find comfort especially during the challenges of childbirth
    1. Your nurse
    2. Your midwife
    3. Your doctor
    4. Your partner 
    5. Your doula

If you feel your nurse, midwife and doctor will be supporting you in this way, yes you may be right to a degree. However, their primary job is to keep you and your baby safe. They will be monitoring your health, and likely will have other people to care for their presence in your room may not be for very long and will usually not be consistent. They too wish they could be with you more and surely will offer some comfort, but our busy system does not allow them to offer what you really need in continuous care. Doctors usually arrive when you are fully dilated, so counting on hospital or birth center staff for support often leaves you without what you hoped for. 

What about your partner? Do they have training and skills to support birth? Often they are having their own emotional experience and partners that have a doula often participate even more since they have the support and encouragement they need too. 

A doula is there for you and your partner to help you both. 

  1. People ask me all the time – “Will a doula take away our privacy?” Have you heard me say the hormones of birth are similar to the hormones or sexuality and are you wondering where a doula fits in here? 

You are right, you may need moments of privacy alone or with your partner and you need to feel safe. Doulas are sensitive to this and easily step out of the room, but more often you need a doula to help you have privacy from unwelcome visitors, to feel safe with shift changes, and to set the room ambiance so you can release your hormones well. Doulas know tips and tricks to help your hormones to flow and to help you fill hormonal gaps when they arise.  After 35 years as a doula people say again and again that instead of taking away from their relationship, a doula added to their love and enhanced their communication so parents can work together to welcome their baby. Doulas encourage more intimacy and create the privacy and safety needed to help birthing people open to birth. 

  1. Labor can take all different paths, sometimes your baby decides to take the scenic route through your pelvis with lots of twists and turns to be born.  A doula is trained to understand how your position and your baby’s position can work together to encourage your baby to descend and rotate for the gentlest birth. It’s a lot to consider and when staff is busy, and your partner does not have the training, a doula’s gentle presence can guide you to find positions and offer comfort measures that create ease and comfort for you all. 

  1. This is a big one, when people look back at their birth there are some simple things that frame a positive memory or sadly create birth trauma. Being part of decision-making is at the top of the list for those that feel positive about their birth experience. 

Informed decision-making sounds easy, but talk to any parent who has navigated some challenges in childbirth and they will tell you it’s not. First, in labor you are not in your thinking mind, you are in what is called liminal space, where thinking too much can actually slow or stop your labor, you need to get out of your head to birth your baby- thus the first steps of where a doula helps you feel safe, private and helps your hormones to flow. But when decisions need to be made, a doula will help you and your partner to review the risk, benefits, alternatives, check in with how it feels to you and that informed decision making means both you can consent or agree or say no I need more time or not now. Being part of decision-making is one of the most important parts of how you will feel about your birth – either positive or too many people remember things done to them without their full permission and these negative memories linger a lifetime. A doula will help you positively communicate your desires and wishes. should you have to make changes for your or your baby’s safety your doula will help you make every birth situation respectful and memorable by amplifying your voice so you are heard and honored. 

  1. Research shows the presence of a doula can shorten your labor and make your birth safer and easier. Although having a partner or friend offer their love and support in labor is valuable in so many ways, research shows it’s only when you add the continuous presence of a trained doula that added benefits happen. 

  • 25% reduction in risk of cesarean birth 
  • 10% decrease in the use of any pain medication – while pain medication can be an appreciated benefit for long and/or challenging births, it’s overuse contributes to the domino effect of other interventions and has been shown to cross the placenta to your baby, which along with the need for more IV fluids can make establishing breastfeeding more challenging/
  • A shorter labor (by 41 minutes on average). Would you like a shorter, easier labor? 
  • 31% decrease in risk that you will feel negative about your birth or I like to flip this around – having a doula gives you a greater chance of having a safe, satisfying and memorable birth. 
  • A 38% decreased chance that your baby will have a low 5 minute APGAR Score, this means it is much more likely your baby can stay skin to skin with you in the first special minutes and hours. 

Because of these benefits, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, said in their paper “Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery” One of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.”

Recently the benefits of doulas are becoming so well know that companies like CVS and Microsoft are rolling out doula coverage benefits for employees and their partners. This is a step forward towards ensuring women and birthing people have access to critical doula support to improve their health outcomes. 

And now even legislators are taking action on a bipartisan resolution honoring the work of doulas during the newly designated National Doula Week (May 9th).

“Doulas are often the missing link in maternal health care and one of the most valuable and cost-effective tools needed to help solve the maternal mortality and morbidity crisis in the United States."
-Senator Dick Durbin
Designer

And this is just in childbirth! 

Doulas have a valuable role to play in the first days and weeks helping you to adjust to your changing body and hormones, to learn to care for and feed your newborn, to support partners and facilitate communication helping you all to find your new rhythm as your family expands. It’s so hard to believe how much a baby changes everyone and having support can make a difference for you and when you are cared for – you will care for your baby in more relaxed loving ways too.

These are just my top 5 reasons why a doula will make a difference in your birth and postpartum care- there are so many more. I would love to know your thoughts and questions after considering the benefits of a doula? To learn more about a doulas role in childbirth and/or to become a doula visit my web site orgasmicbirth.com.

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