Birth is one of the most natural things on Earth. It has been in existence since the beginning of life and has sustained society since its inception. It’s beautiful, exciting, exhilarating and scary all wrapped into one life-altering moment. Although it’s possible to do it all alone in the middle of the wilderness, it’s also one of the most difficult things a human being can accomplish. As they say, it’s called labor for a reason. Having support during this incredible time is not only a great idea, it’s been proven time and time again to improve the experience in many different ways.
A Birth Doula is someone who educates and supports during pregnancy and remains with the birther for the entire duration of labor. Many birthers don’t realize that during labor, nurses and doctors are only present for a short while and the rest of the time they will be left alone. Without support, labor is more painful, scary, and results in more medical interventions and longer labors. According to a study published by Bohren et al. in 2007, continuous support during labor resulted in shorter labors, less medication, less c-sections, less stress, less need for forceps or vacuum extraction, higher Apgar scores for babies, and an overall better experience for families.
Having a partner or family member in the room during labor to support you is wonderful and Birth Doulas don’t take the place of a partner or family member. Doulas have been trained to coach partners and give them constructive ways to engage in the birth, creating a cohesive team to support the person giving birth. Doulas have been trained to offer non-judgmental, evidence-based information to help families advocate for themselves when options for their care arise. Sometimes, healthcare professionals have an idea of how they want to care for patients without considering what the patient wants. Doulas are solely focused on the wishes of the birthing person. We offer the information needed so birthing persons can make their own decisions about their care with the options available to them.
Birth Doulas do not replace healthcare professionals such as Obstetricians, Nurses, or Midwives. They work alongside healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care to the birthing person. Birth Doulas are not able to prescribe or administer medication, check fetal sounds, check heartrates or dilation, or perform any other medical task. Birth Doulas support in other ways, such as:
Physiological pain-relieving techniques
Continuous support and care
Position changes to facilitate labor
Words of encouragement
Activities to encourage a slow or stalled labor
Knowledge of common medical interventions and outcomes
Creating an environment conducive to labor
Providing opportunities for birthers to advocate their wants and needs
Respecting the birthing person's desires and boundaries
Creating a place where partners feel involved
Whatever the birther needs to feel confident in their labor, birth, and beyond.
Many people giving birth wind up feeling steamrolled to make decisions either without knowing the facts, or by feeling pressured or out of control. Pressure can come from medical professionals, partners, family members, or friends. A Doula can explain different procedures when medical professionals don’t have time and should never pressure a birthing person to make a decision based on the Doula’s choices and preferences. In doing so, birthing persons can feel a sense of control in their care during a time when their bodies may feel out of control. A sense of control often results in a lack of fear, which in turn results in better hormone function during labor and birth. Since hormones control the labor process, labors with Doulas present have more physiological outcomes: less drugs, less pain, less C-sections, less fear.
Having a trained professional who is at your labor the entire time and 100% committed to offering you the utmost support has been proven to have no adverse side effects. Birth Doulas help with all types of labors for all people. Whether your birth be in a hospital, birth center, or at-home assisted birth, a Birth Doula is an excellent choice to provide you and your family the best possibility of an enjoyably memorable birth. While it’s possible to birth alone, the simple task of hiring a Birth Doula will improve the quality of your birthing experience immeasurably. Partners, friends, and family are an important part of labor and birth, but they don’t always know what to do, and they often have their own ideas of the way things should go. A Doula listens to the one giving birth first and does what it takes to make their experience as good as it can possibly be. If you desire the best labor and delivery possible, hiring a Birth Doula is a safe bet.