Research shows that a woman who uses a doula has a shorter birth, uses less pain meds, and has less interventions, including cesareans. Women with a doula transition into motherhood easier, have better success with breastfeeding, and overall view their birth more positively.
Labor is quite unpredictable. Even for a couple who is well prepared, has taken child birth classes, done a lot of reading, etc., there is no way to predict how the mother’s labor will go, how she will handle it when the going gets tough (and it will!), or how long it will take. Having a doula present is a great asset because she helps the couple apply everything they learned in the classes to the real life situation. With her experience with labor & delivery, she can interpret the normal progress of labor and can reassure them that everything that is happening is quite normal, and that the mother is doing well. (**although I do not give medical advice)
Since the doula is familiar with the sights & sounds of birth, she helps the partner stay calm, which in turn helps the laboring mother stay relaxed. The doula can step in or step out, according to the couple’s needs, allowing the partner to support the mother as much as they both desire. A doula can get necessities like ice packs, hot washcloths, ice chips/water so he does not need to leave her side for one moment. She also stays with the mother if he needs a break to take a short nap, make a phone call or have a meal.
A doula offers continuous support. Doctors, midwives, and nurses are busy with several patients at a time; they can only check in with the mother as labor progresses (and of course they are there for the big moment). You can count on the doula to be there the entire time, offering encouraging words, a soft touch, and anything else needed.
I wish every woman could have a doula with them at their birth!
Inspired by The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin