In preparing for the birth of your little bundle, you are likely to find yourself overwhelmed with the many decisions to be made – which carseat is best? What color should we paint the nursery? What will we even call this tiny person? It’s a never ending list…I’ve been there! But I strongly encourage you first to take a deep breath, and then to take a moment to consider your little one’s actual birth day. The birth of a child holds the power to transform everyone involved, and the experience of welcoming your baby is one that you will hold close to your heart for the rest of your life. The way a woman experiences birth is in large part dependent on the support she receives during this pinnacle time.
Throughout history all around the world, birthing mothers have relied on the continuous support of other women who are knowledgeable about labor and childbirth. A doula offers precisely this type of support and experience. I could fill pages and pages with the benefits of hiring a birth doula, but because I know you are busy making many plans, I’ve narrowed this list down to my top 7 reasons you should hire a doula.
1. Clinical studies show that doulas make a difference. The Cochrane Collaboration The Cochrane Collaboration shows that laboring women who receive continuous support (such as that provided by a doula):
- Are more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth – that is, without cesarean sections or forceps delivery
- Are more likely to recount birth as a positive experience
- Have shorter labors
- Are less likely to use epidurals and other pharmaceutical pain medications
- Are less likely to have babies with low 5-minute Apgar scores
2. Your doula works for you.
- Your doula’s sole focus throughout your labor is to tend to the physical and emotional needs of yourself and your partner. Because your doula is employed directly by you, rather than the hospital or birthing center, her only interest is supporting you in achieving your desired birth experience.
3. Your doula supports your partner in supporting you.
- Doulas recognize that the support a mother receives from her loved ones plays a critical role in creating a positive birth experience. Many people feel that if they have a supportive partner, they have no need for a doula; others express concern that a doula will replace their partner in labor. Part of a doula’s job is to encourage your partner to be as involved as he/she desires. A doula is there to guide your partner in meeting your needs throughout labor. Your doula is also there to make sure the needs of your partner are met (by reassuring them that things are progressing normally, by making sure they have that much needed cup of coffee, or by encouraging them to snag a quick meal or nap).
4. Doulas have skills.
- In labor your doula will draw upon a variety of techniques such as positioning suggestions, massage, acupressure, relaxation cues and guided breathing. Depending on training, doulas utilize a wide assortment of tools and skill sets – you can interview several doulas to find out what each has to offer.
5. Doulas have resources.
- Doulas are experienced in the birthing process and can help you explore your options while working with you to create a plan for your ideal birth experience. Your doula will be able to provide you with reading materials and information to aid you in your decision making throughout pregnancy.
6. Doulas believe in women.
- Doulas know that women are beautiful and strong and designed to bring babies into the world. We are passionate about supporting and nurturing women throughout the awe inspiring adventure that is pregnancy and birth.
7. Doulas believe in birth.
- Doulas know that childbirth is a normal process which has been occurring since the dawn of man. We trust that your body is well made for bringing your baby into the world, and we know that your birth experience matters – for you, your baby, and your partner.