What if someone told you that there was this magical button you could push – it would provide you with a safer outcome for your birth (less chance of cesarean and other interventions), you’d walk away with a better sense of satisfaction and empowerment, breastfeeding would go more smoothly, labor would be shorter, and your baby would have a higher apgar score? To top it off, there would be no risks or negative effects from pushing this button.
Is it too good to be true…something from a fairy tale, or maybe just total nonsense?
Nope – we are called doulas – and we are your “birth angels.” Studies and research has proven that doulas are a missing ingredient in the maternity care system. If you are being told by your care provider that you “don’t need a doula” here are 5 supporting statements we have compiled from studies that support the continuous, one-on-one, trained support that a doula provides:
1. “Continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants and no known harm. All women should have support throughout labour and birth.” –Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth
2. Childbirth Connection shares recent research which looked at how having different people provide labor support affected the birthing process “…compared with women who had no continuous support, women with companions (such as doulas) who were not on the hospital staff and were not the woman’s partner, friend or relative were:
- 28 percent less likely to have a C-section
- 31 percent less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labor
- 9 percent less likely to use any pain medication
- 34 percent less like to rate their childbirth experience negative“
3. One of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcome is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula…”–Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery
4. “Evidence suggests that, in addition to regular nursing care, continuous one-to-one emotional support is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor.” –Approaches to Limit Interventions During Labor and Birth
5. “Doula-assisted mothers were four times less likely to have a [low birth weight] baby, two times less likely to experience a birth complication involving themselves or their baby, and significantly more likely to initiate breastfeeding.” Impact of Doulas on Healthy Birth Outcomes
A bonus report was put together by Choices in Childbirth “Overdue: Medicaid and Private Insurance Coverage of Doula Care to Strengthen Maternal and Infant Health” further supporting the need that we have here in the United States for doula reimbursement and coverage by insurance companies – especially for higher risk populations. This comprehensive report compiles studies, data and case studies to encourage insurance coverage.
“Community-based doulas are specially trained community health workers (CHWs), women who are usually trusted members of the community they serve. CHWs may be particularly well-suited to address issues related to discrimination and disparities by bridging language and cultural gaps and serving as a health navigator or liaison between the client and service providers.”
Click the graphic below to see the entire PDF which summarizes the OVERDUE Report. Save and download to share with your provider, friends and family!
Still wondering, what is a doula?
“Doulas are trained to provide non-clinical emotional, physical and informational support for women before, during and after labor and birth. Birth doulas provide hands-on comfort measures, share resources and information about labor and birth and facilitate positive communication between women and their maternity care providers by helping women articulate their questions, preferences and values.” CIC
- Hodnett, Ellen D., Simon Gates, G Justus Hofmeyr, and Carol Sakala. “Continuous Support for Women during Childbirth.” Cochrane Library. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 15 July 2013. Web. 09 May 2017.
- Childbirth Connection summary of “Continuous Support for Women during Childbirth.” Hodnett, Ellen D., Simon Gates, G Justus Hofmeyr, and Carol Sakala. Cochrane Library. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 15 July 2013. Web. 11 May 2017.
- Aaron B. Caughey, MD, PhD; Alison G. Cahill, MD, MSCI; Jeanne-Marie Guise, MD, MPH; and Dwight J. Rouse, MD, MSPH. “Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery – ACOG.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 01 Mar. 2014. Web. 09 May 2017.
- Tekoa L. King, CNM, MPH, Kurt R. Wharton, MD, Jeffrey L. Ecker, MD, and Joseph R. Wax, MD. “Approaches to Limit Intervention During Labor and Birth.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 09 May 2017.
Gruber, K. J., Cupito, s. H., & Dobson, C. f. (2013). Impact of Doulas on Healthy birth Outcomes. Journal of Perinatal Education, 22 (1), 49-58. Nov. 2013. Web. 09 May 2017.
- “Overdue: Medicaid and Private Insurance Coverage of Doula Care to Strengthen Maternal and
Infant Health” Choices in Childbirth. Jan. 2016. Web. 09 May 2017.
Gentry, Q. M., Nolte, K. M., Gonzalez, A., Pearson, M., & ivey, s. (2010). “Going beyond the call of doula”: a grounded theory analysis of the diverse roles community-based doulas play in the lives of pregnant and parenting adolescent mothers. Journal of Perinatal Education, 19 (4), 24-40.