A Doula accompanies a woman in labor, mothers the mother, and takes care of her emotional needs throughout childbirth. She provides support and suggestions for partners that can enhance their experiences of the birth. A postpartum Doula continues that valuable emotional support and guidance, helping a family make a smooth transition into new family dynamics. "What is a Doula?" 14 August 2007.
What is a Doula?
Benefits of a Doula
Although doulas do not provide medical assistance, through loving touch, position and comfort measures they make childbearing bearable.
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula's presence at birth:
Results in shorter labors with fewer complications
Reduces negative feelings about one's birthing experience
Reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
Reduces the mother's request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Research shows parents who receive support:
Feel more secure and cared for
Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
Have greater success with breastfeeding
Have greater self-confidence
Have less postpartum depression
Have lower incidence of abuse
Benefits of a Birth Doula
Studies have shown that women who have the continuous support – like that of a doula – with them during labor, and birth experienced:
An overall reduction of 28% in cesarean deliveries;
A reduction in the length of labor;
A 31% reduction in the use of Pitocin (a drug used to induce labor);
A 12% increase in the likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth, that is, birth without assistance of forceps or vacuum;
A 9% reduction in the use of pain medications;
A 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience*
* Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766.
“I just wanted to thank you for all of your help with Hadley's birth. It meant so much to Pat and I to have your support and knowledge in this brand new experience".
"Josie, you're amazing! Thank you for everything! Truly a blessing. Sean & I & baby Lucian are so thankful for you."
"You helped me with the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Now we have a beautiful baby girl"!
Thank you so much for giving me the most cherished - rewarding & memorable birth experience I could have ever imagined. My experience felt full of love, prayer, hope & strength... Because of your guidance I was able to cherish baby Eowyn the moment she entered my world".