Doula & Labour Support
What is a Doula?
A doula is a woman who is trained to provide emotional, physical and nonjudgmental support to mothers-to-be and their partners before and during pregnancy and childbirth, and postpartum.
As a Doula, I work alongside doctors, midwives, nurses, and birth partners, to help you achieve the birth experience you desire. I use natural pain relief techniques, encouragement, massage therapy, and comfort measure techniques.
Why does the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists endorse doula support?
Unfortunately, there have been nursing cutbacks in our medical system. The result of this is that nurses often have more than one couple under their care, and how busy the Maternity Unit will be at any given hour is very unpredictable.
While the doula is not a nurse, she is a constant presence when medical professionals leave the birthing room. She is a trained childbirth professional who understands the labour and birth process. When a labouring woman feels safe and secure, is constantly reassured and is less frightened, labour progresses. Oftentimes, obstetrical interventions are minimized and the mother is able to trust and allow her body to give birth, all the while feeling safe and secure.
Numerous studies have shown that the presence of a doula at a birth results in:
- 50% reduction in cesarean rates
- 40% reduction in forcep deliveries
- 25% shorter labours
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 40% reduction in oxytocin (Pitocin) use
- better mother-infant bonding
- 30% reduction in analgesia use
- reduced post-partum depression
How do doulas differ from midwives?
Doulas do not do clinical work.
Doulas provide: Non-medical skills including explanations of medical procedures, 24 hour informational support during pregnancy and postpartum, positioning suggestions during labour and birth, massage and other non-pharmacological pain relief measures, and reassurance, and most importantly, a constant nurturing, helpful and objective support as well as knowledge and understanding of what the labouring mother is going through. This benefits both the mother and birth partner.
Does a doula replace the father's or the birth partner's role?
Absolutly not! Her presence strengthens the father's role. Pressure to know how to help the labouring mother is removed. The doula anticipates the physical and emotional needs of the labouring mother as labour progresses, and helps the father or birth partner to better help their partner during this trying time. Cindy makes an extra effort to include the birth partner in everything. She certainly is not there to replace your partner, but to support them as they support you!
Isn't the Doula a stranger?
You will have spent many hours getting to know your doula during prenatal visits, and on an on-call basis with weekly communication during the last month of your pregnancy. She will be a constant presence during your labour and birth, unlike other maternity staff in the hospital, who unfortunately have shift changes. Like them, however, she is not an emotionally-involved family member who may find it difficult to witness their loved one during the hard work of labour.
This is such an intimate and private time. Does the doula interfere with that?
Contrary to popular belief, the doula- assisted birth is even more intimate. Early labour can take place comfortably in your home. Dim lighting, soothing music, warm water, massage and relaxation: all are encouraged by the doula. Depending on your preferences she may also capture these moments with pictures, and records events to create a birth story to treasure always. The emotional bond and sense of connection between mother and partner is important, and the doula knows when to stay in the background when the couple is doing well, and when to jump in and offer guidance, such as position changes and breathing variations, as labour progresses.
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