What Are the Benefits of a Doula?
A doula's job is to take care of you and no one else. Your doula will make sure that your birth experience is as positive as possible. If you choose a doula with whom you feel comfortable, you should be able to put your full trust in her to take care of you during the birthing process.
A doula will help you before, during, and after labor. During pregnancy, she can be a source of information about comfort and safety issues for you and your partner. After you give birth, she can help you in your physical recovery and with any early breastfeeding struggles you might have. But, as you might expect, the bulk of a doula's work is in the delivery room. This is where she provides emotional and physical support during the birthing process. In addition, your doula can be your main source of communication with the doctors.
Make sure that the doula you choose understands and agrees with your preferences for the birthing experience -- how you feel about episiotomies, c-sections, epidurals, and other forms of pain relief. Once you're in the delivery room, she will be your advocate and will translate your wishes to the medical professionals when you might not have enough energy.
Women who have a trained doula with them during delivery experience a:
- 50% reduction in the cesarean rate
- 25% shorter labor
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 40% reduction in oxytocin use
- 30% reduction in analgesia use
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery
Research shows that having a doula can positively affect how new moms feel about their labor experience, themselves, their partner, and their new babies.