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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The birth Doula

Educating yourself about childbirth so you're able to make informed decisions is a great way to increase your chances of a smooth labor. But you can't possibly learn everything you might need to know. That's where a doula comes in. A doula is a trained labor support person who provides emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. She (they're usually women) absolutely doesn't replace medical caregivers or your birth partner, but rather complements them. There are many ways a doula can assist you.

She can:
help you prepare your birth plan
provide suggestions and exercises to help you have a more comfortable pregnancy
explain medical procedures
provide emotional support
suggest and provide non-pharmacological pain relief techniques (massage, heat therapy, positioning)
assist with breastfeeding
provide partner support
work as an advocate so your birth plan is carried out.
This list is just an example of some of the many services a doula may provide. To learn more about the benefits of hiring a doula for your birth, read Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth (Paperback) by Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell, Phyllis H. Klaus.

Why hire a doula?

Doulas (professional labor assistants) offer services that can fill in the gaps of mother care during childbirth. Many women state that they couldn't have done it without their doula. Now we have evidence to prove that doulas do improve birth outcomes.

Women supported by a doula during labor have been shown to have:
• 50% reduction in Cesarean rate
• 25% shorter labor
• 60% reduction in epidural requests
• 40% reduction in Pitocin use
• 30% reduction in analgesic use
• 30% reduction in forceps delivery

Six weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas experienced:
• Less anxiety and depression
• More confidence with the baby
• More satisfaction with their partner

Long-term benefits include:
• Improved breastfeeding
• Increased time spent with baby
• More positive maternal assessments of baby's personality and health, and maternal competence
• Decreased postpartum depression

Source: Mothering the Mother, by M.H. Klaus, J.H. Kennell, and P.H. Klaus; Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, New York (1993).

 Contact me today for more information on my Doula services!

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