(DooooLaaaaa…. it sounds like a type of chocolate.) A doula is a birth companion, and traditionally it was a role taken by a family member, a friend, or a wise woman. The term “doula” was coined in the late 60’s and it basically means “female who helps.” For our purposes, a doula is someone who provides laboring parent(s) – that’s right, I said PARENTS… partners go through labor too – emotional, physical, and behind-the-scenes support throughout the birthing process. A doula can do things like help create a birthing plan, explain the physiological and psychological aspects of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods to expecting families; act as liaison between the parents and the healthcare system, prepare expectations and mindset, cheerlead, massage, offer positional suggestions, provide respite for family members … just to name a few. What a doula is not: we are not midwives or doctors. We cannot deliver babies.
- Doula supported births have been shown to reduce C-Section rate by 45%!!! That is HUGE, especially when considering a hospital birth where an average of 1 in 3 women are having C-Sections.
- Having a doula reduces overall length of labor by 25%. Tell that to your neighbor who had a 47-hour hospital birth and see her reaction. No… don’t do that.
- Doula supported birth can reduce the likelihood of needing Pitocin by half. Pitocin is a medication used to induce labor. It’s an artificial form of the hormone oxytocin, that works to contract your uterus. Acupuncture during labor can also greatly increase levels of oxytocin, but more on that later.
- Pain medication and Epidural requests also significantly decrease with having a doula. Which should be enough for most women to jump at the opportunity to have a birth companion. *Insider tip* so does Acupuncture… emoji wink wink.
- Breastfeeding success rates are substantially higher in studies where groups of women had doula assisted births.
“Ok this all sounds good,” you say, “but I have a partner who will be with me at birth.” I think that is awesome. Partners experience labor and will need emotional and physical support as well. A partner may not have the tools to encourage you to change positions, answer your questions or they may so focused on you that they forget to drink water or eat. I’m here to support everyone through this process. Families who have had a doula at their birth report more satisfaction and closeness with their partners postpartum. Birthing a baby is, well, BIG. And while it’s not “Game of Thrones” in public style, it’s still a huge undertaking that is exciting, life changing, and very intense. Why wouldn’t you want someone to help?
Guess what guys? As an Acupuncturist & herbalist, I have some extra-cool labor game changers. I have a BUNCH of super cool techniques to help you and your baby prepare for their birthday! Please see my next blog post on 2/4 to find out play-by-plays on how you can have an even easier labor. Thank you to Chloe French of Bluebird Doulas for the super informative information.
Holistic Health. Whole You.
Hey! You don’t have to take my word for it: