dou·la (noun/?do?ol?/ doulas, plural): A person, usually a woman, who is professionally trained to assist a woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born. (Google Dictionary)
Today, I took the first step in my journey towards becoming a DONA Certified Birth Doula. I signed up for a workshop!
In honor of this, I’ve done a little research and have decided to share some benefits of choosing to have a birth doula attend your birth:
- A laboring mother who has an experienced doula by her side, is less likely to need an epidural. (CNM Data Group, 1996. Midwifery management of pain in labor. J Nurs-Midw 1998; 43:77-8)
- Due to budgetary restrictions, hospitals are forced to cut down on nursing staff, which leaves laboring women with less support and increases the likelihood of cesarean. Doulas help to improve “clinical and service quality” by providing a safe way to reduce cesareans and other invasive birthing interventions. (Coming to Term: Innovations in Safely Reducing Cesarean Rates. Medical Leadership Council, Washington D.C. 1996)
- Though technology is important, medical professionals are often so focused on the newest technological developments, that they lose sight of “the natural, physiologic process”. This includes the psychological support that doulas provide. (Reducing the Cesarean Section Rates while Maintaining Maternal and Infant Outcomes. Bruce L. Flamm et al. Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Boston, 1997)
- In a hospital setting, there are procedures in place that the nursing staff tends to stick to, even when those procedures sometimes disregard a mother’s wishes. It is both necessary and understandable in a busy hospital, but the stress of communicating/advocating one’s wishes can affect the labor process. A doula can help advocate for the laboring woman’s wishes, so she is able to stay focused.
And those aren’t even all the benefits. Clearly, doulas provide a valuable service to both hospital staff and laboring women.
I’m so excited to begin this journey and learn more about birth. Once I’m certified and able to start, it will feel so good to know I’ve aided in a woman’s positive birth experience.
I just had to share my excitement. I hope you’re all having a great week. Did you use a birth doula or have you considered using one? I’d love to hear your thoughts!