Evidence on Doulas

Often, when I introduce myself as a Doula, I am confronted with the question: “You’re a WHAT?”
To explain my journey, I must start at the beginning. I have to start 12 years ago when we were expecting our first baby and I sat in the car (about halfway through my pregnancy) and told a friend – who was a qualified midwife – all about my aches and pains and how much I was not really enjoying this “beautiful journey” of pregnancy. She then said to me, “Why don’t you just allow me to be your Doula?” “My what??” was my response. But that is the question that changed my life. The world of Doulas was unlocked to me, and I have never been the same again. I went on to have the most beautiful birth with the loving support of my husband and Doula, and the whole experience was just incredible!

It was only after we had our second baby three years later, minus our Doula (because I thought I’ve GOT THIS!), that we actually realised the true value of a Doula! And that was when the passion was birthed in me.

I then started my training when my youngest was a year and four months old, and I became certified after six months of extensive training through WOMBS.

When people ask what Doulas do, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one or two roles, because as a Doula, I am different things to different families. The support is tailor-made to suit your needs. But a Doula is a trained professional. As a Doula, I offer physical and emotional support to families. Physical – in the form of massage, comfort measures and options for positions during labour. Emotional – in the form of listening and just being there and holding space without judgement. Studies show that there are many benefits of having a doula present at births. The outcomes are better, not just for moms, but for dads and babies too!

Your partner will be able to participate in the birth at his level of comfort. Having a Doula present, takes some of the pressure off partners to know what to do. He will be able to take breaks when needed, knowing that you are not alone, because your doula is with you. He will be able to ask questions as things happen, and your Doula is skilled in how to calm his fears. Dads and Doulas also make a great team, because we work together. I am in no way there to replace your partner. He knows YOU and a Doula knows BIRTH! So that’s why it is always important to me to get to know not only you as the mom, but your partner too. A Cochrane review on continuous labour support with a doula shows the following results happen during labour and birth for those who have a doula with them:

  • 39% decrease in the chance of having a C-section
  • 15% increase in the chance of having a spontaneous vaginal delivery (non-induced)
  • 10% decrease in the need for any medication for pain relief
  • 41-minute average reduction in the length of labor
  • 38% decrease in low 5 minute APGAR score
  • 31% increase in satisfaction with the overall birth experience and less chance of postpartum depression

A good Doula is also able to hold space for you to be who you need to be. We don’t expect you to chat and keep us occupied. In early labour, you may still be chatty, yes. But we respond to YOUR needs. We remind you to stay hydrated; to keep your bladder empty; to eat light snacks throughout labour and so much more.

Doulas also work very well with your Care Provider (Dr or Midwife). Your care provider takes care of you and your baby medically and their focus is that your baby is born safely. A Doula takes care of you emotionally and informationally in this space. Keeping you calm, reassuring you and helping you stay informed with regards to what to expect. When an emergency arises, your care provider may not have the time to explain what is happening, as they often have to focus and act fast. A Doula is able to fill this space in a calm, loving way. A Doula also helps keep you calm and relaxed and this helps your labour to progress well, and this assists your care provider as well because when you are calm, cooperative and well informed, it takes a lot of pressure off them.

There are so many benefits to having a Doula present at your birth.

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