New research is strong that doulas reduce the chance of cesarean birth (or vacuum/forcep assisted birth, shorten length of labor, reduced use of pain medication, and a more positive birth experience. The newest review from the Cochrane Collective states that “continuous labor support appears to offer impressive benefits and no harms to women and newborns, especially when provided by someone in a doula role. This appears to be an important care practice for those who wish to improve the quality, outcomes and experience of maternity care.” And who doesn’t want to improve the quality, outcomes and experience of maternity care! With the support of a doula, you are more likely to have the best birth possible!
I hear again and again how having a doula at birth enhanced a couple’s connection and relationship – giving them the confidence and courage needed to enjoy this sacred powerful experience. Often while birthing in a hospital, a couple finds themselves alone without their provider for significant amounts of time. These moments alone could leave birthing mothers and partners concerned or fearful. We know that fear releases adrenaline that will stop or slow labor making labor longer and harder. With the continuous presence of a doula, couples are able to feel supported in all moments of the birth, giving them a chance to connect, nurture, touch, and feel their love.
Even the best nurse, physician or hospital midwife cannot replace the nurturing presence of a doula. These practitioners have many tasks they must do during birth – charting, checking in on the health of MotherBaby and more. They also may have shift changes or other patients to attend to. As much as they may want to comfort and nurture you, time constraints and other requirements often means they are unable to. “Looking at all studies with data on a woman’s likelihood of having a negative birth experience, continuous labor support seemed to decrease a woman’s likelihood of having a negative birth experience. Upon further analysis, however, only support from someone in a doula role or…woman’s social network seemed to have this effect. Support from hospital staff did not appear to affect her chance of a negative birth experience.“ Read full summary
What the research does not capture is how doulas make this difference. I believe that we as doulas are the keepers of pleasure!
Yes, yes yes, doulas create a web of safety and privacy that help the birthing person to feel undisturbed to access the sensuality of childbirth.
Doulas help create birth ambiance: lighting, smells, music, birth altars (and so much more) that will transform the birth space into a sacred, sensuous space to help love baby into this world.
Doulas provide continuous support- never leaving the side of the birthing mama unless mother wants her to – she never changes shift, and is always there for you!
A doulas gentle smile and presence provides the confidence you need to trust birth – encouraging the energy that created the baby (the LOVE hormone oxytocin) to flow with ease, pleasure and energy to Birth with Love!
A doula has a bag of comfort measures, words, affirmation, visualization, mindfulness techniques, positions, rebozo, fun, acupressure and touch that can transform pain to comfort and pleasure so that you can give birth with joy.