What is a BIRTH Doula?
A doula mothers the mother. A doula is a labor support person who provides continuous physical and emotional support to a woman during labor and birth. A doula does not replace the support of a husband, partner or medical professional. Rather, the doula is a resource for both the laboring woman and her birth partner.
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Giving birth to a baby is a key life event full of emotion and meaning. It is so much more than a physical phenomenon; it engages parents-to-be in a transformational experience. A doula who accompanies a woman in labor mothers the mother, taking care of her emotional needs throughout childbirth.
With the assistance of a doula, the non-pregnant partner can participate at his or her own comfort level without having to remember "everything" learned in a childbirth class or book.
HOW Doulas CAN HELP:
- Arrive when you begin active labor and stay with you continuously until one - two hours after the baby is born and stay by your side from the moment she arrives, while the doctors, nurses and midwife come and go.
- Help initiate breast feeding and bonding of the mother and baby.
- Are trained and experienced labor companions who help you through many of the unexpected moments that may arise during the course of your labor.
- Encourage and comfort you, give you information about what is happening to you, facilitate communication between you and your medical staff and support your decisions.
- Make suggestions for what will help labor progress smoothly.
- Are there to rub your back, wipe your face with cool cloths, hold your head should you vomit.
- Help support your legs during pushing if needed. (often needed if you've had an epidural)
The presence of a doula in randomized trials has proven to reduce c-section rates, facilitate shorter labor, lessen the frequency of epidurals, reduce the use of pitocin, increase success with breastfeeding, provide fewer forceps/vacuum deliveries, increase maternal satisfaction and lower rates of newborn complications.