If a doula were a drug it would be unethical not to use it. -John H Kennell, MD
The word doula is Greek for servant. A doula is someone who is trained in childbirth and will tend to your needs before, during and after your labor, whether they be physical, emotional, educational. A doula's purpose is to help a family have a safe and empowering birth experience.
In celebration of World Doula Week, here are five reasons to hire a doula!
1. Women report to having a more positive birth experience when a doula is present. This is because a doula is your advocate during birth, helping you make educated decisions. You can rely on your doula to take care of your needs during labor, which is a great comfort and brings peace of mind to both partners.
2. The medical benefits are immense. Labors where a doula is present are more likely to have less interventions and less of them end in c-sections. Doulas are not medical professionals but they have a vast repertoire of knowledge about birth and can guide you through decisions that are right for you because they know your history and know your desires for your birth. Sometimes babies can get stuck or need help transitioning through the body so doulas will work with the mom to shift baby into the best position to navigate the birthing canal. Proper positioning can be essential in whether or not baby can be born vaginally vs a c-section.
3. Doulas act as a coach during the most physically intense experience of your life. If you were to participate in an Olympic event you would want a coach there with you who was educated in how to train, how to endure, how to be successful. You would want someone encouraging you when it felt impossible, when you didn't know what step to take next, when you needed comfort through the pain. This is what a doula does for you in birth.
4. Doulas are a form of pain relief. They are trained in comfort measures to help you through contractions. They know where to apply pressure, when to give a cool cloth, how to use water for comfort, and the words to say to calm the mind.
5. Having a doula can help shorten your labor time. And who doesn't want that?! Doulas can help shorten your labor due to their understanding of the body, helping baby get into a good position, and provide coaching through mental and physical hurdles which could otherwise stall labor.