When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our third child, we made the decision to give birth naturally with a midwife. Our first two were born in the hospital with full out inductions and epidurals (for no medical reason), because we were uneducated about childbirth and we followed the hospital norms. Skeptical about a home birth, my husband agreed to a birthing center birth. It wasn’t until about 31 or 32 weeks that someone introduced me to a doula in training.
A doula is an experienced, non-medical assistant who provides physical, emotional and informed choice support in prenatal care and support, during childbirth and during the postpartum period. A birth doula offers continuous care for labor in many settings, to include homebirth, birth center and hospital birth.
You would have never guessed that my doula was in training. I felt like a queen during the entire labor and birth process, and I could not have pictured my birth going any better than it did. I firmly believe that having a doula by my side made a world of difference in the way I labored and gave birth to our son. I was confident, empowered, happy, fun-loving, not stressed, excited, certain, relieved, over joyed, calm, and on and on and on, mostly because I had a wonderful doula who helped me be strong and helped me enjoy my birthing experience!
According to DONA International:
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth
- tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
- reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
- reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
- reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Research shows parents who receive support can:
- Feel more secure and cared for
- Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
- Have greater success with breastfeeding
- Have greater self-confidence
- Have less postpartum depression
- Have lower incidence of abuse