With all these posts on pregnancy lately, I’m excited to bring you information about the power of having a nonclinical birthing advocate, also known as a doula. Doulas are certified individuals whose goal is to support pregnant people before, during, and after labor. Doulas assist with emotional and physical support, as well as providing information about pregnancy, labor, and post-delivery stages. Doulas are different from midwives in that they are not trained to assist in the medical component of labor, but in the emotional/spiritual capacity.
DONA International, a leading Doula training organization, cites that having a Doula can be of positive emotional and physical benefit to the pregnant individual, including:
- Shorter labors with fewer complications;
- Creating more positive feelings about one’s childbirth experience;
- Reducing the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans; and
- Reducing the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals.
Research shows parents who receive support can:
- Feel more secure and cared for;
- Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics;
- Have greater success with breastfeeding;
- Have greater self-confidence;
- Have less postpartum depression; and
- Have lower incidence of abuse.
If you choose a doula advocate, it is recommended that you meet with them in advance of delivery, so that your bond can develop naturally with one another.
You can find a Doula in your area by searching the following databases:
I’m linking here to a short documentary about the benefits of doula care within the UK. I found it to be empowering, and am reminded of how powerful we can be when we support one another.
Feronians, have you used a doula?