Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy World Doula Day!

Today, March 22, marks World Doula Day and the beginning of World Doula Week.

Most of you know what a doula is, but for those of you who don't, here is a little breakdown.

A doula is a servant of women. A birth doula is someone who will help a pregnant mama through her pregnancy with education, talking about methods for coping with labor, assistance in writing a birth plan, and being an all-around support. She will assist and support mamas through labor (and help hubby help mama), and will be a calming presence during labor and delivery. A post-partum doula helps after delivery...she will help teach newborn care, help with any breastfeeding issues, and help mama and family get used to having a new baby at home.

As a birth doula myself, I can't even think of a greater honor then being present at the birth of new life and mommy-hood (because with each birth, the woman giving birth becomes a new mommy, too). Every doula I know feels the same way. We are passionate about helping women get the kind of birth they want, and are there to support at all times - not condemn or criticize for any decision made. We will go to the ends of the earth to make sure mama has the necessary information to make the best decision for her and her baby...even if that decision isn't what we would make for ourselves.

Research confirms that having a doula present at birth may:

~Decrease cesareans by 50%
~Decrease length of labor by 25%
~Decrease oxytocin use by 40%
~Decrease request for pain meds by 30%
~Decrease forceps deliveries by 40%
~Decrease epidural requests by 60%
~Increase overall birthing satisfaction
~Promote longer breastfeeding
~Encourage parent/baby bonding
~Help partners participate with confidence

List taken from Klaus & Kennell, Mothering the Mother

I've also taken tidbits from several different blogs and added some of my own to come up with a list of non-measurable benefits to hiring a doula (I've posted these before, but they are always good to review):

  • Someone who really has been there, done that before - just knowing this can reduce stress for mom and dad.
  • Help you if you're scared
  • Help you and your hubby if your hubby is scared
  • Help you let go, and simply let your body guide you through the childbirth.
  • Can be the only person who can keep everyone's nerves calm and cool during childbirth. She can be integral in facilitating communication between you, your support team and providers.
  • Can provide massage, teach relaxation techniques, ideas for different labor positions, breathing help and so on prior to and during labor and delivery, as well as teach massage and helping techniques to your partner prior to and during labor.
  • Can help provide any emotional or physical support you need if you're dealing with a difficult pregnancy or situation.
  • She may attend your home labor (though in South Dakota it is not legal for doulas to attend your home birth without a CNM who has the appropriate waiver or a doctor as the birth attendant)
  • If you will be at home, a doula can get in contact with the hospital if needed, as well as drive you there.
  • Can answer your questions about newborn baby care
  • Can answer your questions about your post-pregnancy body and emotions
  • Can answer questions about breastfeeding and latching on. Don't miss that opportunity!
  • Can also offer you with guidance when it comes to rest, exercise and offer support. 

Here is a little video that I like to show when I have a booth at an is a very nice photo montage of doulas in action. Enjoy!

Do you have a doula to thank? This blog post or our facebook page is the perfect place to sing their praises publicly! So leave your comments here thanking your wonderful doula, or head over to facebook to do the same. Happy doula day!


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