The following is a student blog post by a Sebrina Parker
What is a Doula & How Can You Benefit From Hiring One
by Sebrina Parker
What is a doula?
The word Doula comes from a Greek word meaning “a woman who serves.” When it comes to childbirth this means she is a trained professional who provides prenatal support and education to expectant mothers and continuous support to the laboring woman before, during, and just after birth. You can think of a doula as a mama sherpa who guides women through pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.
A doula does not replace your care provider whether that be an OB or midwife. Rather she helps you understand your birth choices and present these to your care provider so that you receive the care you expected.
A doula doesn’t require you give birth in a certain way, but offers you evidence based information on the safest and healthiest birth practices. Ultimately she will support you without judgement in whatever birth experience you choose is best for you whether that is cesarean, medicated, or out of hospital.
This means that every woman deserves and needs a doula. In fact, a 2012 review of 22 medical study involving over 15,000 women concluded: “Continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants and no known harm. All women should have support throughout labour and birth” (Hodnett et al. 2012).
They further discovered that when continuous support was provided by someone who was not a staff member at the birth facility and who was not part of the laboring mother’s social network, women experienced a:
34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
31% decrease in the use of Pitocin for induction
28% decrease in the risk of C-section
25% decrease in the length of labor
14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
This means that by hiring a doula you increase your likelihood of having better outcomes for you and your baby and a more satisfying birth experience overall (Dekker, 2013).
If you would like to learn more about how a doula can personally help you in your pregnancy and birth, feel free to contact a local doula. Most offer free interviews or initial consultations so there is no risk in giving one a call.
Sebrina Parker is a birth doula serving families in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas. She is currently completing her certification through Birth Arts International. You can learn more about her services and read her birth blog at www.youandmebirths.com
Dekker, Rebecca. “The Evidence for Doulas.” Evidence Based Birth. 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 04 Mar. 2016. <http://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/
Hodnett, E. D., S. Gates, et al. (2012). “Continuous support for women during childbirth.” Cochrane database of systematic reviews: CD003766.
What is a Doula & How Can You Benefit From Hiring One by Sebrina Parker