Uh oh! The evidence is out, there are MANY proven benefits of a birth doula!
The greatest benefits of a birth doula come when a birthing woman has continuous support from someone who is
a) not a family member or social network,
b) not a hospital staff
Here is what this study found on the benfits of having a birth doula:
When a woman has the continuous support of a doula, the pitocin use goes down 31%, the cesarean rate decreases 28%, there is a 12% increase in spontaneous vaginal births, a 9% decrease in medications for pain relief, a 14% decrease in newborns being admitted to a special care nursery and finally, a 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience.
To say it even more simply:
Doulas make birth go more smoothly.
Doulas lessen your chance of having a c-section.
Doulas decrease pain during birth… aka, When you have a doula, your birth doesn’t hurt as much!!
Doulas lessen the duration of labor… aka, make birth go more quickly!
Doulas helps women feel better about their birth.
Benefit of having a birth doula #1:
Pitocin use goes down 31%
The use of pitocin goes down 31% when you have a doula. That’s significant and life-impacting. Pitocin is an artificial version oxytocin, the most impactful hormone in the labor process, the one that controls the contractions. Pitocin is used to to make a womans contractions start, to make her contractions become more strong and/or more often. It is used to induce labor(start the process of labor) and to augment labor(to add to an already started labor, to make contractions come more frequently or become stronger).
Pitocin can be helpful, however a doctor and patient need to always weigh the benefits to the draw backs. Some of the draw backs of use of pitocin are: over stimulation of the uterus which can cause danger to mom and baby, more painful contractions, which then leads to a need for an epidural which has it’s own host of negative side effects, increased risk of low apgar score and NICU admission.
When you have a doula present, the studies show that your need for augmentation of labor goes down 31%. So, if a woman is having her baby is a hospital that has a 90% use of pitocin, that means the womans overall chances of getting pitocin is about 90%. But if she has a doula present, it drops down to 59%. That’s amazing!!
The next blog post will go into more detail about the next benefit of a birth doula, cesarean rate decreases.