What is a Doula?

More pregnant women are having a doula or midwife involved in their labor and delivery these days. What role does a Doula play in your pregnancy, labor and delivery? A doula provides continuous emotional and physical support during the labor and delivery process. Their main goal is to promote pain management, by making the laboring mother as comfortable as possible. It is impossible to predict what anyone is going to experience and face while in labor, so the doula is prepared to assist a soon to be mother in any circumstance to make them more comfortable.

What Services Does a Doula Peform?

The process of working with a doula begins well before you go into labor. A doula will start working with the expecting mother on establishing a birth plan, what to expect during labor, and ease any fears. During labor and delivery, a doula is there is assist the mother with pain and comfort levels. They focus on many techniques in order to keep the laboring mother as comfortable as possible. Physically, the doula focuses the mother on breathing techniques, visualization, and positioning that keeps the mother’s pain level at a manageable level. Doulas may also use massage to keep their patients relaxed and focused. They also assist the fathers in being encouraging and nurturing to a laboring mother.

Hiring a Doula

Hiring a doula to assist during labor and delivery has been proven to reduce many birthing complications, decrease medical intervention, and decrease the use of drugs. When a doula is present during labor and delivery, the time of labor is on average 25% shorter and they reduce the use of oxytocin (a drug to speed up labor) by 40%. On average, women in labor with a doula present request pain medication 30% less often, while the use of an epidural is reduced by 60%. Not only does a doula help reduce a women’s pain level significantly, their presents result in less complicated births. Doula assisted child birth reduces the use of forceps by 40% and the need for a cesarean by more than 50%.

Benefits of a Doula

Women who have used a doula find the birthing experience to be much more satisfying and experience less postpartum depression. Babies born with a doula present have shorter hospital stays with fewer babies being admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit and have an easier time breastfeeding. Although a doula may be pricey, many insurance companies are starting to add doula services because of the astonishing statistics associated with their success. If you are looking for a doula check out some of the following certification organizations within the U.S.: Doulas of North America (DONA), International Childbirth Education Associations (ICEA), Childbirth International (CBI), and the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA).

What is a Midwife?

Midwives offer an alternative to using an OBGYN. They provide care during the pregnancy, labor and delivery, as well as postpartum. The main difference between a midwife and a licensed physician, is doctor manages labor while a midwife in taught to let nature take its course and not intervene unless completely necessary.

Benefits of a Midwife

The choice to use a midwife instead of a doctor has many advantages. Midwives are much more affordable compared to a physician, which can be a big positive. Midwives offer a type of birthing plan that involves much less intervention compared to that of doctor. Births assisted by midwives have a reduced mortality rate associated with intervention and fewer recover complications. Many midwives are equipped with the ability to deal with difficult births, such as breech babies, twins, and babies in posterior position.

If you are looking to have a natural birth with the least amount of intervention as possible, choosing a midwife is the first step. The following are some resources you can seek out for more information on midwives: American College of Nurse-Midwives, Midwifery Today, Midwifery Journal, and Citizens for Midwifery (CFM).

Author: Unique Ultrasound