Bringing a new life into the world is a beautiful yet complex process, both physically and emotionally. From conception to delivery, pregnancy can be both exciting and challenging.
While some parents have straightforward births, others may experience complications, prolonged labor, or other unforeseen circumstances. This is where a doula can play a vital role in enhancing your birthing experience.
Here are some ways a doula can make the whole experience a memorable one:
What Is A Doula?
A doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to birthing parents and their partners during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.
Unlike midwives or obstetricians, doulas are not medical professionals and do not provide medical care. Instead, they focus on the non-medical aspects of childbirth, such as providing comfort measures, assisting with relaxation techniques, and offering guidance and support.
How Can A Doula Help During Childbirth?
Childbirth can be an overwhelming and stressful experience for both the birth parent and the partner. A doula can offer various forms of support that can make the process smoother and more comfortable. These are some ways a doula can enhance your birthing experience:
- Emotional Support
One of the primary roles of a doula is to provide emotional support to the expectant parent and partner. Childbirth can be an overwhelming experience, and having a doula with you during this experience can help you feel more calm and relaxed. Doulas are trained to provide reassurance, encouragement, and comfort, which can help you feel more confident and empowered during labor and delivery.
- Physical Support
Doulas also provide physical support during childbirth. They are trained in various techniques to help ease the pain and discomfort of labor, such as massage, breathing techniques, and positioning. They can also help with other physical needs, such as getting the expectant parent water or snacks or providing a warm compress or ice pack.
- Advocacy and Information
A doula can also serve as an advocate for the birthing parent and partner. They can help them communicate with their healthcare providers and ensure their wishes and preferences are respected. Doulas are also a valuable source of information, providing education and resources to help the expectant parent make informed decisions about their care and the care of the newborn.
- Support for Partners
Partners also benefit from having a doula present during childbirth. A doula can support and guide partners, helping them feel more involved in the process and less overwhelmed. They can also provide breaks for partners to rest or take care of their own needs, knowing that their partner is in good hands.
- Better Outcomes
Studies have shown that having a doula by your side during childbirth can lead to better outcomes for both the parent and the baby. For example, according to the American Pregnancy Association, birthing parents who use doulas during childbirth are less likely to need pain medication or other medical interventions. They are also more likely to have a shorter labor and a successful vaginal delivery.
Additionally, babies born to parents who use doulas are less likely to require NICU care or have low Apgar scores.
- Postpartum Support
An added benefit of having a doula is that their role doesn’t end after the baby is born. Doulas can also provide support during the postpartum period, helping new parents adjust to the challenges of being a new parent. They can offer guidance on breastfeeding, baby care, self-care, and emotional support during the early days and weeks after giving birth.
Does The Doula Interfere With The Partner’s Role?
The purpose of a doula during labor is never to replace spouses or laboring partners but rather to support and enhance the birthing experience. Labor and birthing has become a more inclusive experience these days. As a result, partners are finding that they would rather be immersed in the experience without the added stress of having to coach the birthing parent.
With a doula by their side, partners are able to take a break when needed, as the birthing parent will always have someone by their side. In addition, the partner may assist the parent emotionally when they give birth with the help of a doula. Partners can also take it all in without having to worry about trying to recall everything they learned in childbirth class!
Advantages of Having a Doula
According to studies, doula care can make labor and delivery safer for expectant parents and their infants. Doula care has several advantages, which include:
- Reduced depression and nervousness in expectant parents
- Medication for pain relief is not often used
- Lower chance of births needing c-sections for delivery
- Reduces healthcare expenses
- Less traumatic delivery experiences
- A quicker labor
- Improved communication between parents and their medical professionals
How Does Having A Doula Reduce Your Healthcare Expenses?
So not only will having a doula enhance your birth experience, but it will also improve how you save on those pricey healthcare expenses. Research has shown that doula care can result in significant cost savings by lowering the need for medical interventions during labor, such as c-sections and pain medication.
Given that one-third of all deliveries in the United States are c-section births, which has a greater cost than vaginal delivery, a doula can significantly reduce expenses with less medical intervention. In addition, doula care has also reduced preterm birth rates. This, in turn, reduces the need for NICU use which can cost an arm and leg after an extended stay.
Additionally, studies have indicated that doula support can boost the chances of breastfeeding, which may result in long-term health advantages for both parents and babies.
Having a doula present during childbirth can enhance the birthing experience in numerous ways. Doulas provide that much-needed emotional and physical support during these challenging times. They can help you navigate the medical system, offer comfort measures, and advocate for your needs and wishes.
By hiring a doula, you are not only investing in a more positive birth experience for yourself but also for your baby and partner.