What is A Birth Doula
Birth Doula DefinitionA birth doula is a trained labor professional that assists birthing families through continuous educational, physical, and emotional support throughout their pregnancy, labor and delivery.
Evidence Based Benefits of Doula Support Research has shown significant benefits of having a doula present at birth. In a recent study of 15,000 women participating in 21 randomized control trials, women in the trials who were continuously supported through labor were:
More likely to have
- A spontaneous vaginal birth
- Shorter Labors
Less Likely to
- Report negative feelings about childbirth experience
- Use synthetic oxytocin (such as pitocin ) during labor
- Admission to the special care nursery
The study also found that continuous labor support was most effective when it was provided by neither medical staff nor a member of the women's social network.
Working in Conjunction with Partners Doulas do not replace birth partners, but rather enhance everyone's experience. Doulas can help guide partners in their assistance of the birthing parent, and can relieve much of the stress that comes with childbirth. Having another person committed to the birthing parent is also helpful to provide rest of breaks for the birth partner if needed.
Doulas DO NOT do the following tasks
- Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and others. I am there to provide only physical comfort and emotional support
- Make decisions for you. I will offer information about labor and birth to help you make an informed and confident decision. I will also inform you if there is a departure from your birth plan.
- Speak to the staff on your behalf. I can discuss concerns with you about options throughout your labor, but any decisions or requests to the clinical staff will come from you or your birth partner.
References Hodnett, Ellen D et al. “Continuous Support for Women during Childbirth.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews 10 (2012): CD003766. PMC. Web. 1 May 2015.