Benefits of a Doula
Doulas may provide physical supports to the birth person with a variety of comfort measures, positions and techniques that may help reduce pain & need for interventions. Some of these maybe through massage, creating a calm environment, assisting with water therapy, or applying counter pressure.
Doulas may provide emotional support to the birth person (and partner) through holding space for them. By providing reassurance, encouragement, empathy and praise. This will help reduce cortisol (stress hormone) and increase oxytocin (feel good hormone) which will help with progression of labor and increase prolactin after brith.
Doulas may help provide evidence-based information that will help inform the birth person (and partner) on what the process of labor and postpartum may look like under different scenarios. This will guide them in making confident and educated decisions for themselves & their newborn(s) allowing them to advocate for their own needs.
A doula is not just there for the birth person but for their partner or support person (if applicable) as well. Our goal is to help the support person feel supported and educated as well so that they are comfortable and confident with what is happening. We encourage the support person to get involved as much as they can or the birth person desires by providing comfort measures and encouraging words as well.
Our goal is to give you the education and skills you need to be able to self advocate. Sometimes that isn't enough and the doula needs to speak up to help amplify the birth persons (and partners) voice. "I'm sorry, they are trying to tell you something. I'm not sure if you heard them or not." We are also able to create a space that give them the time to ask questions and make decisions with out feeling pressured. This can help facilitate the communication between the birth person (and partner).
Studies have shown that having a doula can decrease the risk of cesarean section up to 39% and increase the likely hood of spontaneous vaginal birth up to 15%. There was a 10% decrease in the use of medications for pain relief and labors averaged 41 min shorter with continuous support. Baby's risk of a low Apgar score after five minutes was decreased by 38%. There was a 31% decrease in the birth persons dissatisfaction with their labors when provided additional support. (Evidence Based Birth)
What Doulas Don't Do
Doulas are not trained medical professionals. Some many have a medical back ground but it is out of their scope as a doula to perform such tasks as vaginal exams or fetal heart monitoring. They should not give medical advice or diagnose conditions. Doulas do not take over the role of the partner and should not be making decisions for the client. They do not catch the baby.