So… What IS a Birth Doula?!
Penny Simpkin describes a Birth Doula like this: “One of the most positive developments in maternity care is the addition of the birth doula, who guides and supports women and their partners continuously through labor and birth. The doula is on call for you, arrives at your home or the hospital when you need her, and remains with you continuously, with few or no breaks, until after the baby is born. The doula is trained and experienced in providing emotional support, physical comfort, and nonclinical advice. She draws on her knowledge and experience as she reassures, encourages, comforts, and empathizes with the mother. She advises the partner about how to help, suggesting when to use particular positions, the bath or shower, and specific comfort measures.
A doula cannot and does not try to take over your role as the birth partner, because you know the mother better and love her and the baby as no one else does. But there are many times when a woman needs more than one helper in labor, and when her partner needs reassurance, advice, and help.”
~Penny Simpkin, excerpt from her book The Birth Partner, A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
Why Choose a Birth Doula?
Recent studies have shown that having a Doula providing continuous care during labor makes it such that a woman is:
- 28% less likely to have a cesarean section
- 31% less likely to use Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) to speed up labor
- 9% less likely to use any pain medication
- 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively
when compared to people who did not have a Doula, & had only their birth partner/ family member/ friend/ health care provider for support.
Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C, Weston J, 2011
As your Doula, I will bring to your birth team:
- a feeling of ease & calm
- suggestions for different positions, or change of scenery, including Spinning Babies techniques
- hands on comfort through massage, acupressure, counterpressure techniques, Rebozo cloth techniques, hot or cold compresses, water (shower or tub), other comfort techniques, etc
- reminders to help you to stay nourished & hydrated
- knowledge & understanding of the phases of labor & what to expect, normalizing your experience
- assist in knowing when to ask questions & advocate for yourselves (I can help you create a birth plan)
- a listening, compassionate, respectful mind & heart, being guided by your needs/ desires
- respect for the natural birth process that is unique for each person, and each labor
- support in whatever labor and birth choices that YOU decide. Natural childbirth is not everyone’s goal. Birth doesn’t always unfold according to the plan. Interventions may become necessary, or desired. I get it. l support you with whatever path you choose, however your birth progresses. I keep a very open, non-judgmental mind.
Having a knowledgeable, compassionate, professional Doula can make a positive difference in birth outcomes.
When a person feels supported, empowered & in control of their birth choices, often the results are:
- a more satisfying birth experience
- increased bonding with baby
- increased breastfeeding success
- decreased chances of postpartum depression
- a birth story that will be fondly retold for years
- & ultimately a healthier Mama & baby
What an inspiring way to begin a journey!