What is a Labor Doula?
A Labor Doula is a woman who serves and cares for other women during their pregnancies, through labor and just after giving birth.
A Labor Doula provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support before, during and just after the birth to the mother and her family.
Studies have shown that when a Labor Doula is present at a woman’s birth, there are fewer medical interventions such as inductions, forceps and vacuum extraction, and cesareans, fewer complications, labors are shorter, and babies breastfeed more often and easier and babies are healthier.
Here are some of the statistical benefits of having a Labor Doula:
· 50% reduction in the cesarean rate
· 25% shorter labor
· 60% reduction in epidural requests
· 40% reduction in oxytocin use
· 30% reduction in analgesia use
· 40% reduction in forceps delivery
Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus (1993)
As a Labor Doula…
· I understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor. I can help you to plan for your labor and birth and help you to achieve your goals as best as possible.
· I can stay with you throughout the labor, birth and immediate postpartum period.
· I can provide you an objective viewpoint and continue to provide non-judgmental support no matter what your choices and decision are.
· I can provide you with emotional support as well as help you with physical comfort measures during labor: breathing, relaxation, movement, positioning.
· I can help you to get the information that you need to make informed choices and decision about your care and your babies care.
· I can help to facilitate the communication between the medical staff and the laboring family.
· I can help the mother’s partner and other support team by showing them how to care for her during labor and keeping them aware of what’s going on with the birth process and keeping them involved in her care and nurturance.
Overall, my role as a mother’s Labor Doula is to nurture her and protect her memory of her birth experience while helping her voice be heard.
Throughout history, young women grew up learning, seeing and interacting with their community midwives. Women gave birth with the support of other women. We learned from other women the process of labor, birth, breastfeeding, and childcare. One of most memorable events in a woman's life is the birth of her child. A professional Labor Assistant, sometimes called a Labor Doula can help you have a satisfying birth experience. Studies have shown that having the comforting presence of labor support can reduce the chances of having a cesarean birth as well as lesson the amount of unnecessary medical interventions and reduce the length of labor. There is also an increase in breastfeeding when Labor Support is incorporated into the birthing process.
What is a Postpartum Doula?
A Postpartum Doulas assists families who are bringing home a new baby, whether that is through birth or adoption. A postpartum doula is there to help a new family in those first days and weeks after birth or bringing baby home. Even experienced parents benefit from the support of a Postpartum Doula.
As a Postpartum Doula…
· I can help to ease the transition when a new member of the family has arrived.
· I can help to reduce the mother’s risk of experiencing postpartum mood disorders.
· I can offer evidence based information on infant feeding including breastfeeding assistance and infant care including bathing, changing, soothing and bonding.
· I can help you with your physical postpartum recovery needs, whether you’ve had a vaginal or cesarean birth.
· I can provide nonjudgmental support to you no matter what choices and decisions you make regarding your care and your babies care.
· I can assist with light household tidying and nutritious meal preparation to assist with postpartum recovery.
Overall, my role is to “Mother the Mother” and to assist with the family’s adjustment when baby arrives.