What is a Doula?
You pass me in the store, taking note of my shirt, you drive by me and notice the advertisement on my vehicle, and every so often, we strike up a conversation. Eventually, you ask me what it is that I do and I say, “I’m a doula.” I see a look of curious confusion cross your face, but you’re unsure if you should ask the question that is on your mind. WHAT on earth is a doula? I’m so glad you asked!
A doula is a support person for women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. She assists you as you make your journey into new motherhood and helps you achieve your desired birth. In essence, a doula “mothers the mother”. The role of a doula during labor includes:
· Providing emotional support
· Utilizing comfort measures such as positional changes, massage, breathing, movement and much more!
· Helps a mother to become informed about birth options by providing information
· Assists the mother and her partner to communicate effectively with her doctor and hospital staff
· Provides a continuous presence in labor for both parents. A doula does not replace your partner but rather works with him (as desired) to benefit the laboring mother
Studies show that women who hire doulas for continuous labor support have a greatly reduced likelihood of cesarean section, interventions and need for pain control, as well as shorter overall labors. In addition, women also experienced:
· 31% reduction in the use of Pitocin
· 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
· 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
A doula also offers help in facilitating immediate skin-to-skin contact and bonding, and assists with initial breastfeeding, if desired.
With all the many benefits of doula care, it’s easy to see the importance of hiring one to be a part of your birth team. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact Heritage Birth Services at HeritageBirthNC@gmail.com or 704.414.0008.
Karen Owen is a certified Birth & Bereavement Doula and owner of Heritage Birth Services, Kings Mt., NC. She is a wife, homeschooling mother of 4 and an active member of her church. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, football and spending time with her family. www.HeritageBirth.net