There’s no better time to enroll in doula training: ACOG recognized the vital importance of continuous emotional support in labor. Doulas will soon be in even higher demand.
ACOG released their most recent Committee Opinion yesterday, January 25th. The study specifically focused on how to help pregnant women achieve their goals for labor. The section that might interest our doula training students the most is titled “Continuous Support During Labor”. Here, the article addresses the importance of having a doula present during birth:
“Evidence suggests that continuous one-to-one emotional support provided by … a doula, is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor.”
The article breaks down the numerous benefits of having a doula, including:
- Shorter labors
- Less need for pain medication
- Decrease in operative deliveries (i.e. cesarean sections)
- Increased feeling of satisfaction with the labor experience
- Improved rate of spontaneous vaginal delivery
- Improved Apgar score for newborns
Of course, this information will look very familiar to anyone who is already enrolled in doula training with IDI. However, ACOG’s updated recommendations will also be of interest:
In addition to listing the benefits of using a doula, the author also concludes that there is no risk to having a doula present at the birth. Furthermore, given the associated decrease in cesarean births, they note that doulas are a cost-effective addition to the labor and delivery room.
In fact, the ACOG Committee Opinion recognized that all laboring women should have a doula present.
Since doulas have been found to have such a positive impact on birth outcomes, the article made the recommendation that more programs need to be developed in order to provide all laboring women with emotional support. It put the call out to providers and health care organizations to develop programs that will make doulas available to all women in labor.
All this adds up to a lot of great news for anyone interested, or currently enrolled, in our doula training program. With the backing of such a highly-respected organization, doulas will be in high-demand in the coming months. If organizations take these recommendations seriously, there may also be new opportunities for doulas to work directly for hospitals or birth centers.