Just another of the many articles and videos on how useful it is to have a doula at your birth.
“Looking for a way to decrease the length of your labour, reduce your need for pain medication, decrease your chances of needing a forceps delivery or a Caesarean, and leave you feeling satisfied about your birth experience? What you need is a doula—the birthing world’s equivalent of a fairy godmother.
Think I’m exaggerating? Consider the evidence for yourself. There’s a growing body of research proving that doulas (experienced non-medical female companions who provide continuous labour support) can help to improve the birth and postpartum outcomes for both mother and baby…“
To read the rest of the article you can go to Why Doulas are a Mom`s Best Friend at Oh Baby Magazine.
The question is not, “Will it be worthwhile to hire a doula?“
The question is, “Why don`t more women hire a doula?“
Doulas are a relatively new and growing profession, although the roots of it stretch back to the beginning of humankind. Since women have been giving birth, other women have attended to the mom in labor, providing physical and emotional support so that she can get through labor feeling calmer. In the past, the role of the midwife and the doula was the same.
Now the differences in the roles are more clearly defined, although there is some overlap. Midwives are responsible for medical tasks and for catching the baby, while doulas focus on the emotional and comfort needs of the mom. Also they provide continuous labor support, from the beginning of active labor in the home through to birth and breastfeeding. Nurses, midwives and doctors may have other moms to attend to and have other technical tasks to do.
The research by Klaus and Kennel reveals something very interesting – that women have easier labors when someone is giving them undivided attention. The thing is, this is difficult for people to wrap their minds around. It is difficult for most people to understand how a doula can help them in labor. Those who do, are glad they did hire a doula and can`t imagine how other women manage through without one. There is a quote that says, “If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use one.“ I think in the future, the majority of women who want a natural birth will automatically hire a doula.
Even in the animal world, there are doulas. Most animals like to birth in complete privacy, but some social animals don`t labor alone. They need other females around them. Dolphin females swim around the dolphin mom in labor, nuzzling her with their noses. Elephants as well, which are highly intelligent and social animals need other females around, stroking them with their noses.
There was an elephant in a zoo who was in labor. The zookeepers moved her to another enclosure because they thought the other elephants would disturb her or the baby. What they found was that when she was separated, she went into distress, stomping around and wailing, banging herself on the fence. The zookeepers called another zoo that had experience with elephant birth. They said to put the elephant back with the other females. When she went back, her elephant doula friends stroked her with their noses and she immediately calmed down and had her baby smoothly.
Humans can learn from other social mammals because we have forgotten how the natural process of birth works.
Where I am, here in Surrey, BC, I hear some of the more common reasons women don`t hire a doula, even though they want a natural birth. One is that they think it will be too expensive. They`re usually shocked when they find out how reasonable rates are considering the time and benefit. Doulas are committed to helping all moms who want a doula. We don`t believe finances should be a reason not to have one. Some doulas, especially newer ones, even volunteer their services for moms who cannot afford even a basic fee. To find volunteer doulas go to BC Doula Services Association.
Another reason is that they feel that they have enough support because they either have a midwife, or have family support. Those are awesome, however, the role of a doula is quite different. I know from my own experience at the birth of my first child, the midwife is not going to be with you all through labor. She has other things to attend to, and is responsible for all the medical tasks.
Family or friends are great supports, but they don`t have the training, and the experience of learning from hundreds of other births what to do in different situations. The doula does not replace husbands or family, because they are the ones you have a relationship with, but they bring so much more knowledge and skills. Doulas involve the dad`s and other family members and teach them comfort measures that help the mom. Dad`s are always glad to have a doula there so the pressure to know and do everything is taken off him.
Do you have a story or a question about doulas? If so, I`d love to hear your comments.
For more info about hiring a doula in Surrey, Langley or anywhere in the Lower Mainland, BC, call 604 809 3288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org