Doula Labor Support
“Every woman needs not only the father and other chosen partner but also a nurturing, experienced person – a doula- who can calmly and skillfully help her cope with labor and be a reassuring and constant presence for both her and the father.” ~Mothering the Mother – Klaus, Kennel, and Klaus.
WHAT IS A DOULA?
The word doula is an ancient Greek term that translates into “caregiver” or “woman of service”. Doula has been used for decades to describe a woman who provides a variety of non-medical comfort measures such as emotional support, relaxation techniques and pain management, and information to pregnant families. The care given often includes recommending books about pregnancy, helping make a birth plan, offering a hand to hold or giving a massage during labor. Having a doula can provide pregnant couples with the tools to empower themselves in a medical setting and ensure that their experiences are honored and that they feel safe. In addition, doulas are there to help validate the women’s experiences and choices surrounding their pregnancy outcomes, on their terms. Numerous studies have proven the benefits of the practical and emotional support provided by doulas for parents throughout pregnancy and birth.
http://doula.org.uk/, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10631824, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16881989, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17718872,
If women feel supported, safe and less fearful in birth it can become a transformational moment in their lives, emotionally and spiritually. Mothers have better outcomes with less interventions and their postpartum experience is smooth and straightforward. It has also been proven in studies that a mother who has support in breastfeeding succeeds by over 80 percent.
HOW TO TELL IF YOU REALLY NEED A DOULA
Do you really need a Doula? If you desire to:
Have help in managing the experience of pain during childbirth
Feel more confident about laboring and giving birth
Be empowered as to what is happening during labor and delivery
Learn about procedures so you can make effective decisions about your medical care
Have assistance in helping your partner be educated and empowered enough to be confident in their role and ability to help you during labor and delivery
Create a birth-plan and have help during labor remembering the things that were important to you when you planned your birth
Have support in dealing with feelings of fear, helplessness before and during labor and delivery
Have assistance in preparing for breastfeeding and help afterwards
Have someone be there for you before, during and after birth
Then the answer is undoubtedly yes!
Doulas are effective because they engage on a non-medical, patient-centered level that elicits trust from their clients, and because they work hard to establish trust with health care providers.
In our practice, we think that every pregnant woman should have a doula if she desires. A great doula helps give clients control over their experiences by listening and responding to their needs, and helping them communicate their needs and desires. She provides tools to help them better understand their pregnancy and birth, and helps reduce their fear and anxiety through physical comfort measures.
We believe every individual giving birth has the right to have their birth be an enriching experience. A Doula can provide labor support. She will accompany a family from early labor until after birth in order to provide comfort, guidance, information and emotional/physical support to the laboring woman and their partner.
Contributed by Haize Hawke Rosen
- International Birth and Wellness Project
- Doula Association of Southern California
- Doulas of North America
For answers to your childbirth related questions, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.