Birth and Postpartum Doulas - what do they offer?
Doulas, both birth and postpartum, offer emotional, physical and informational support
to women and their families during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
The presence of a doula brings a professional into the birthing room. And, she stays there - offering guidance regarding positions for mother’s comfort or to encourage the baby to descend, hands-on comfort through counterpressure, massage, the use of a rebozo, and other techniques, and emotional support through her encouragement and reminders of the normal experiences that come during labor. The presence of a doula allows the laboring woman’s partner to relax and be free to be with her, offering the all-important connection that is unique between the two of them, rather than struggling to remember the right words, techniques and ideas learned during childbirth preparation classes.
Clinical studies show the benefits of working with a birth doula include:
• 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin*
• 28% decrease in the risk of C-section*
• 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth*
• 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience*
• 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
• 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
For four of these outcomes,* results with a doula were better than all the other types of continuous support that were studied. For the other outcomes, there was no difference between types of continuous support.
There is some variation among the packages offered by the doulas in the collective. Once hired, each of us offers unlimited phone and email support, plans a prenatal home visit to review your wishes for the birth and share insights, provides labor support in your home, if desired, and continuous support throughout active labor and birth at your chosen setting. Immediate breastfeeding support is given and at least one follow-up postpartum visit is included as well.
The primary goal of a postpartum doula is to support the family to encourage a smooth transition. Doulas may offer daytime or overnight support as needed. They provide breastfeeding support, make meals, help with newborn care, run errands and most anything else to help a household run easily. The presence of a woman familiar with the needs of newborns is very reassuring to most new mothers (and fathers). The doula does not take over care of your baby nor take on heavy housecleaning chores.