Find a Doula
Doulas are a non-medical labour and birth support person providing physical and emotional support to birthing couples and their families during the prenatal, childbirth and postpartum periods. They do not perform clinical tasks such as vaginal examinations or heart checks but rather suggest and assist with massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, acupressure and different positioning during your labour, methods that invariably lead to avoiding unnecessary interventions. A doula’s care can last several months or more. This should be discussed and decided upon with your doula beforehand as periods differ between care providers.
A birth doula’s care begins in the home and they will accompany a woman and partner to hospital or birth centre being their ally, companion and even mentor. They will offer informed birth choices and will work as an advocate of their client’s wishes when communicating with medical staff in hospitals during the birth. A doula will assist you with your birth plan and help you understand explanations of medical procedures and interventions.
Postpartum, doula’s assist in the home providing nutritious meals for the family, care for the newborn, breastfeeding support, bonding and help around the home. Having a doula present at your birth is extremely beneficial as it leaves the other parent free to enjoy his or her own birth journey with the birthing mum, allowing them to fully participate actively in the labour and birth.
Studies show that births attended by doulas have a reduction in the duration of labour, use less pain relief medications and a lower rate of operative vaginal delivery and caesarean deliveries. Newborns in doula supported births reported lower foetal distress rates with fewer being admitted to intensive care.
Breast-feeding is generally more trouble free and successful with the assistance of a doula and depression is less frequent with the women reporting a greater self-esteem and ability to care for their newborn. Bonding is enhanced as the doula’s presence has a dramatic positive effect on the whole family because everyone is supported at such a special moment in their lives.