The birth of a baby is a true miracle that a mother and father will remember forever. It can also be unnecessarily frightening, painful, and stressful. In the hospital, the medical staff will perform the essential functions necessary to limit risk and promote a safe and expeditious birth. Very often, however, parents and babies can benefit from the presence of someone whose sole interest is in improving their overall experience.
Birth doulas provide continuous physical and emotional support for women and their partners. They help reduce stress by keeping mothers informed and prepared; they help manage pain through positioning and massage; they foster the involvement of partners and help focus their efforts. Birth doulas place their undivided attention on you, and will improve your comfort and safety through a wealth of experience and training.
In recent years, birthing babies has become a medical procedure. Women in labor are brought to the hospital, administered drugs, forbidden to do some things while forced to do others, and they are continuously monitored. Yet, they spend most of the time alone, without the presence of medical staff, information, or support. How could this be the most amazing experience of a woman’s life? During childbirth, women’s needs encompass a lot more than just the pure medical aspects and these other aspects are not often addressed by medical staff. Doulas and labor support personnel fill this gap and provide expectant mothers with informational, physical, and emotional support during and immediately following the birth.
The doula’s role during a birth is an important one. While mothers in a hospital benefit from advances of modern medicine, they also lack information and human touch. The doula’s job is to ensure that, prior to the delivery, the mother and her partner are educated about what will happen physiologically during the birth of their baby, about their options of pain medication, birthing positions, pain coping and relaxation techniques. A doula offers assistance to partners and helps them with their involvement during the birth. In addition, she also gathers information about specific issues such as hospital policies and makes sure the couple makes informed choices. During the birth, the doula provides continuous emotional support, reassurance, encouragement, and makes certain that the couple’s choices are respected.
The purpose behind labor support is to make the outcome of every birth as positive and happy as possible. A mother’s feelings about her birth reflect on the outcome of the birth itself, on her relationship with her child, on the success of breastfeeding and, by extension, on the successful functioning of her family. Doulas provide mothers with an educated, supportive, respectful, caring, and loving environment to make sure that their specific needs are addressed, to make them feel in control of the situation and their bodies, and to ensure positive feelings about their experience because happy mothers have happy babies. Labor support’s focus is also on improving mother-partner relationships during the childbirth, which contributes to mother’s and family’s well-being.
The benefits of labor support to the mother and her family are numerous, including better maternal emotional well-being, a stronger bond between mother and her baby, and lower rate of interventions and complications. Studies that have been conducted in recent years to compare the outcomes of births with continuous labor support and those without show that a presence of a doula in a delivery room decreases the need for pharmacological pain relief such as use of narcotics or epidural anesthesia, medical interventions such as use of Oxytocin, vacuum extractor or forceps as well as lowers the incidence of complications during the birth.