Research shows that the mere presence of another woman during labor lowers levels of anxiety, pain, and fear, says study author Della Campbell, RN, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. When you experience those emotions, your body releases a series of hormones that triggers muscles to relax. And this actually disrupts the labor process because the uterus needs to contract in order to push the baby out.
So is this the right move for you? Read on.
We're not suggesting you kick your significant other out of the room; in fact, this third party will be there for both of you. "Labor can be a stressful time for dads too," says Campbell. "And many men may actually feel more comfortable knowing they're not the only one in the room." The main point of the doula is to provide the mom-to-be with continuous, uninterrupted support -- so your husband won't feel guilty about making a bathroom run or stepping out to update the family in the waiting room.
"Anyone can hire a professional doula for extra labor support, but the key is comfort and trust," says Campbell. The beauty of having a female friend or relative with you is that you already have a relationship with that person and can immediately benefit from that in labor. Keep these tips in mind:
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