Great Reasons to Have a
Doula During Labor & Birth
The birth of a baby is one of life’s most profound experiences. Here at Childbirth Graphics, our goal is to help nurture healthy babies and grow healthy families by creating innovative childbirth education materials and models, covering preconception planning through pregnancy, the postpartum period, and early parenting.
Birth doulas share the same goal of fostering the special relationship of growing families by providing physical and emotional support during labor and birth. Read on to learn about the important role doulas can play during labor and birth and how having a doula can create a better overall birth experience for a woman and her partner.
What Is a Doula?
“Doula” is an ancient Greek word that has come to mean the person who mothers the mother. A labor or birth doula stays with a laboring woman throughout her entire labor and birth experience, helping her cope with this major life event. Most typically, the term “doula” refers to a labor or birth doula. However, there are also postpartum doulas who help mothers in the early weeks after giving birth.
A birth doula often has years of experience attending women throughout labor and birth. Doulas may have training and certification through professional associations such as Doulas of North America (DONA), International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), Childbirth International, and the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA). Doulas understand the process of giving birth and can provide information to help pregnant women make informed decisions. Doulas may help families think about and prepare a birth plan. A doula will also respect the mother’s birth preferences.
of doulas and birth companions providing labor comfort measures.
How Can a Doula Help a Woman During Labor?
A doula …
- Recognizes that your birth experience is an important event that you will remember all of your life.
- Understands the many choices you have and can help you write a birth plan or a list of your preferences in giving birth and welcoming your baby into the world.
- Provides emotional support for you before, during, and after your labor and birth.
- Provides or suggests physical comfort measures that your partner can give during labor and birth, such as back rubs, breathing exercises, and position changes.
- Gives you an objective view of your labor—A doula has the experience of many labors and can help you understand how to work with your labor.
- Knows what to do during long or difficult labors. A doula can give many suggestions that can help you cope and help your labor progress
- Communicates with your birth partner. A doula helps your birth partner understand the labor process and can give your birth partner many suggestions on how to give support during labor and birth.
- Helps you make informed decisions about your baby’s birth.
- Helps you and your partner get off to a great start as new parents. Some doulas offer support in the early weeks of parenting.
- Gives you one-on-one attention. A doula’s total role is to “be there for you” and help you have the best possible birth experience.
companions and doulas assisting with labor comfort measures.
What Are Some Other Benefits of Having a Doula?
Research has shown a number of benefits of having a birth doula, including:
- Reduced likelihood of a cesarean delivery
- Less anxiety and more confidence
- Less likelihood to use Pitocin to speed up labor
- Less likelihood to use pain medication and fewer requests for pain medication
- Greater satisfaction with the entire birth experience
during labor with our Comfort Positions for Labor and Birth Flip Chart.
How Do Birth Partners and Doulas Work Together?
A doula can never replace the love and care that the birth partner provides during the birth experience. No one else can fill this special role. A doula’s knowledge and experience can help the birth partner to participate comfortably in the birth. They work as a team. A doula gives the birth partner helpful ideas about what comfort measures work during different parts of labor and birth.
To learn more about doulas, or to find a doula, talk to your childbirth educator or other healthcare professional.
To learn more about Childbirth Graphics’ innovative labor and birth education resources, including resources to help birth companions with labor comfort positions, please visit our product section devoted to Labor & Birth Education Materials.
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