Chances are if you are an expectant mother, you’ve heard the term “doula” before. In case you haven’t, a certified doula is a hired professional who is there to provide physical and emotional support, and information before, during, and after birth to both the expectant mother and the father. Besides providing support, what other reasons are there for hiring a doula to be a part of your birthing team? Below are some of the top reasons to invest in a doula for your labor and delivery!
Helps Mother through the intensity of birth
Chances are that labor is going to be more intense that you can imagine. That is why hiring a doula can be very beneficial, is because most expectant mothers are surprised by exactly how intense labor is. A doula will be able to provide a calm and encouraging presence which can help to mitigate the mother’s fears, therefore, decreasing her pain.
Another aspect where doulas can prove to be very helpful in an intense birthing experience is that a doula will have either given birth herself or attended a live birth as part of her training. Therefore, a doula will be able to remind the mother that what she is experiencing and going through is normal, and a good thing! The more intense labor gets, the closer she is getting to meet her baby!
Takes some of the pressure off of Dad
Until recently, dads were not allowed in the delivery room, or even expected to assist with delivery. Nowadays things are the complete opposite! It is uncommon to hear of a dad not being present in the delivery room. In a lot of instances, the dad is expected to act as though they are a doula. This is often difficult for dads to accomplish as they most likely have never attended a birth before!
Having an actual doula present can help to relieve some of the pressure off of dad. This will then allow for the dad to fill the loving partner role for the laboring mother, rather than acting as the doula. As a result, dads tend to be more present during labor and can prove to be more useful to their partners.
Accessible for support, before, during, and after birth
One of the biggest reasons that expectant mothers want to hire doulas, is that they are available 24/7 by phone, text, email, or in person to answer any questions and provide support. Often times, first time mothers will have questions that they might not feel comfortable asking their primary care physician or midwife, but are more comfortable asking their doula.
Sample questions that mothers ask their doula include:
- “My contractions are around 5 minutes apart, what should I do?”
- “I’m having trouble sleeping, do you have any suggestions on things that I could try that might help?”
- “Do you have suggestions on places that offer good childbirth classes?”
By having a support system that you can turn to at any time to offer reassurance and support, a birthing mother can feel more confident going into labor. The support of your doula doesn’t necessarily have to stop as soon as the baby arrives, most doulas will continue to offer support when needed after birth.
Provides legit encouragement
Chances are your doula has given birth herself, or attended several births. Therefore, doulas are experts in giving support and encouragement during labor; that can mean a lot to the expectant mother. Hearing things like, “you’re doing great” from your doula is very encouraging, because chances are she knows what she is talking about. When your partner makes the same comment, it can potentially be distracting as they have no idea what you are experiencing.
Offers unbiased support
When you have a doula as a member of your birthing team, you know that you will have their undivided attention. Your doula is there for you and nobody else, which means that they only answer to you and your needs. Because doulas aren’t trained in the medical aspects of child birth, they are able to provide unconditional physical and emotional support throughout the whole process.
Provides nourishment to the parents
Believe it or not, during labor and delivery most parents often forget to take care of themselves due to the high intensity of birth. A doula will remind parents to take care of themselves, eat, drink, change positions, use the restroom, etc. as needed. It is important to remember that a doula is there to not only support the mom, but to also provide support to the dad as well.
Statistically Doulas are supported
Statistics show that having a doula that provides continual support during labor is a vital part of providing the outcome that mothers want for themselves and their babies. Studies have shown that mothers who have the support of a doula for labor were:
- Less likely to have a caesarean delivery
- Less likely to use pain medications
- More likely to give birth spontaneously
- Had slightly shorter labors
Another advantage that studies have found, is that labors that consist of a doula resulted in babies having a low five-minute Apgar score!
Many women prefer to labor at home for as long as possible before heading to the hospital or birthing center. When laboring at home, mothers hope to arrive at the hospital or birthing center at the right time during transition, just before it is time to start pushing. With a doula present, parents will be able to more accurately determine when it is time to leave for the hospital and when they can afford to wait a little bit longer. Most parents who don’t have a doula head to the hospital too soon, or sometimes, regrettably, too late. A doula is one more person to help parents make an informed, educated decision about when the time has come to transport to the hospital or birthing center.
Walking, Talking Birth Plan
When it comes to giving birth, there is no guarantee that it will go 100% according to plan! Birth has a mind of its own, and keeps its own time schedule. Because birth can be unpredictable, this is another good reason to have a doula on your birth team, who can serve as your walking, talking birth plan.
Often times, written birth plans are not given a second glance in a hospital setting, which can evoke negative feelings or energy from care providers. Doulas are great at helping mothers have the courage to make their wishes known as situations arise during labor. This allows for mothers to focus on giving birth to their baby! When plans change, and the unexpected arises, as it inevitably will, doulas are a valuable resource to help navigate these changes.
Doula serves as a Gate Keeper
In addition to everything else, doulas make great gate keepers! A gatekeeper ensures that only those who the expectant parents have decided on are allowed in the delivery room, and all others are kept out. Prior to birth, a doula will discuss with both parents who should be in the delivery room and who should be kept out. If those who should not be included are in the room, the doula can ask them to leave providing the parents the opportunity to focus on delivering their baby.
As you can see there are many advantages to hiring a certified doula to be a part of your birthing team. Whether you are looking for unconditional support during labor, or a friendly face who will help to ensure that you are having the birthing experience you want, a doula can help to make birth a pleasant experience for all!