23 Sep Why should I get a doula?
First let me start with what a doula is exactly and then explain the value a doula can bring to your labor and delivery journey.
A birth doula is a professional, non-judgmental birth supporter that encourages and supports the birthing mother and/or the partner. As a birth doula she/he will teach the mother breathing techniques, birthing positions, as well as providing comfort measures during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Your doula will also provide emotional encouragement and give mother’s and/or their family evidence based information about pregnancy and childbirth so that they can make the best decisions for them and their family AND they will help advocate for those decisions if and when the time comes. Most importantly a doula is on call for the family to answer any questions they may have or to simply provide emotional support and reassurance, as well as being there physically to support the family in all of these ways. Having a doula benefits not only the mother but also the baby.
With the support of a doula you statistically lessen the chances of unnecessary medical interventions, such as the use of forceps or vacuum, and/or lessen the need for unnecessary medication which in turn lessens the chance of having a cesarean. A doula on your birth team can help shorten labors and increase the chances of a spontaneous vaginal birth and decrease the baby’s risk of complications that could possibly send your baby to the NICU. Another benefit to your baby with having a doula assist you through labor and delivery is the greater chance of a higher AGAR score and they are more likely to be successfully breastfed for at least up to 6 weeks! Having all of these things and MORE gives you, your partner, and your baby a more positive birthing experience to remember.
Even if you are considering or have already decided on getting an epidural or using nitrogen oxide as your doula can still be a very valuable asset to have during labor and delivery. They will help you get into a good position for baby to continue moving down, helping to reduce the possibility of a caesarean, help with emotional support, physical support, and they can also give your partner a rest or food break for those extra long labors.
Having a doula can be beneficial in all labor and birthing situations including a cesarean. It is a doulas job to support a mom and/or partner through a planned or emergency c-section and to supply you with emotional support and information about the procedure, the choices you still have, and what to expect during and after the c-section. Your doula is there to support you emotionally and physically after the delivery as well. For the cases of emergency sections, your doula is available leading up to the the c-section encouraging you and helping you by giving you evidence based information on the situation so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family.
Not just any doula will work however, making sure your doula is a perfect fit for the you is just as important as choosing your OB or midwife. Make sure to interview many doulas, get references from their past clients, schedule time to meet with your potential doula one on one, review your birth plan with them to make sure they will support your choices, check to make sure your doula isn’t overbooked, make sure your doula has a backup doula for unforeseen circumstances where they might not be able to attend, and making sure your doula offers virtual support if your birthing place doesn’t allow them to be with you in person.
As you can see there are many benefits to everyone involved in your labor and delivery journey when you decide to hire a doula from mom to partner to baby to the rest of your birth team. With a professional doula by your side it allows for you to have more rest time without being interrupted as often by your doctor, nurses or midwife because they know you are well cared for and that your needs are being met. With all the benefits a doula brings for all involved why wouldn’t you hire a doula to make your “labor day” the best it can be?
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