There is great excitement when meeting a new family and it is awesome beyond words to be present when their baby enters this world. But the BIGGEST reason we work as doulas comes down to what we know (and wish every expectant mother knew) - If an expectant mother has a doula, statistically she will have*:
50% reduction in rate of c-section
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps delivery
Why is this important and what does it mean? It means there is a significantly decreased chance that either mom or baby have complications, they get to go home sooner, the risk of postpartum blues or depression is significantly decreased, and mom feels that she had more control of and is more satisfied with her birth experience. This is important because complications from labor and delivery can have lasting negative effects on mother, baby, and future births. It is also important because women remember and reflect on their birth experiences through their entire lives. This colossal event can cause lasting positive or negative effects.
What we want to shout from the rooftops is that "There is a super effective, simple, and proven way to help ensure a better birth experience and labor outcome." It's not magic, or voodoo, or even crunchy alternative thinking. It's a scientifically proven, educated, non-invasive, and time-tested practice that makes sense for every mom in EVERY birth situation. You are not excluded from the benefits of having a doula if you plan a hospital birth over one at home or a birth center. The benefits still apply to you if you are planning an epidural or other narcotic pain relief. If this is your second birth, third birth, fourth birth...you get the idea - the benefits of having a doula still apply to you and your baby! If you are expecting, trying, or even plan to have kids one day in the future, take the time to educate yourself about what a doula is and how having one is the best gift you can give yourself to help you through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the early days of parenthood.
You may say I’m biased, spinning the statistics and reports to favor the practice in which I work. I would be lying if I told you I don’t have a vested interest in more women hiring doulas. We are doulas and more women hiring doulas would logically increase our demand and ultimately our bottom line. But as you delve into the information you will see there are many scientific studies that confirm the benefits of having continuous support from a doula during birth. You will also find that there are some doulas who offer discounted rates while they are in the process of attending their first births in order to be certified by the organization through which they received their training. There are also doulas that provide discounted services for those with spouses in the military, young mothers, or families that lack the financial resources to pay the full rate.
Whatever your objections to having a doula, I encourage you to take the time to research the benefits. If you believe the statistics you find, please take the time to interview multiple doulas, find one that best suits your personality and desires, and look for one that is offering discounted fees or free services if necessary. There is no way to guarantee that your birth will go exactly as you imagine, but you can certainly stack the deck in your favor. Think about it, take action, and then tell other moms-to-be so they can benefit from your experience and knowledge.
By: Stephanie Roberts
(DONA), and Certified Childbirth Educator (ACBE)
Graduate Nurse, Birth Doula
*Information from "Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter Easier and
Healthier Birth", Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus
About three weeks ago, I had a mama call me and say she might be in labor. Contractions were regluar, lasting about 45 seconds and seemed to be getting stronger. Those contractions continued for several hours--just enough to mess up a good night's sleep--and then disappeared. A few days later, the same thing happened...and again went away after using up most of the night. And so it continued, for three weeks, until this morning when they did not go away, but continued getting stronger, though still a bit irregular.
When I think back on this morning, I have to chuckle a bit. Mama texted me and said she wasn't sure, but she would feel better if I was with her. Baby had teased her so many times, she couldn't tell if it was really going to happen today. (And to be honest, she was so calm through it all, I had a hard time telling, too!) But, I got to her house about 1:30 and within 30 minutes we were back out the door!
Mama labored beautifully in and out of the water and around 4:45 she welcomed her beautiful baby boy into the world. It was such a peaceful delivery. Mama was simply amazing and her baby has the cutest, chubbiest cheeks! He is absolutely precious!
Congratulations, Mommy, Daddy, big brother and big sister! I am so proud of you all and I am so thankful that you let me be a part of welcoming your little one to our world.
On Monday morning the full moon was doing it's thing and making lots of women's labor start. One of those women was saved from a scheduled morning induction because her water broke in the middle of the night. Hopes were high since labor starting on its own meant that she could be at the birth center!
As the day progressed and labor did not, mama made the choice to move to the hospital and get some help to keep things moving. Oh, how the story of this labor would take pages to tell: failed epidurals, painful contractions, lots of pitocin, tired mama, too many hours to count. Honestly, I don't know how she did it. Her mother-in-law kept looking at me and saying, "I can't believe you're still going." and I would say, "I figure if she can keep going, so can I." She was working so, so much harder than I was, and I was beat. But she kept going! Then, at 8:15 p.m., more than 36 hours after her contractions started, she delivered a happy and healthy (surprise!) boy.
She is so amazing. She was incredible and strong. I'm not sure how she was able to find the energy to push her baby out! After her baby was born and latched on she was finally able to rest. I hope she had the best nap of her life that day!
I also need to say a HUGE thank you to Stephanie for bringing me food and for bringing some fresh energy. You are the best!
Almost every pregnant mom wonders how she will know when labor really starts. Women who have already had a baby or two think, "I've done this before. Surely I will know when it starts." If only baby could send you a text that says, "Ok, mommy, ready or not, here I come!"
In the wee hours of the morning today, a precious new soul joined our world. Mama had been having some contractions all week, but each time they started, it wouldn't be long before they faded away. But last night--last night was different. They didn't stop! She thought "Maybe. MAYBE this is it. Better go in, just in case." Once she was there, it quickly became evident that she was really in labor. She labored BEAUTIFULLY. Calm, relaxed, moaning at the end. She was incredible! Not even three hours after arriving, baby made his way into the world. And he let everyone know that he was NOT HAPPY about being kicked out! Big sister had the honor of cutting his cord and the whole family was over the moon about their little baby.
Tonight there is a strong and amazing woman holding her newborn boy and her family is transitioning to a group of five. I hope they know how incredible they are, how thankful I am to have been there, and how happy I am for each one of them.
What an awesome birth!
Early this morning, one waiting mama had her day begin with a big gush of breaking water. Baby had been teasing us for a couple weeks, but there was no denying it this time! Everyone excitedly gathered (again) at the hospital, ready to meet the newest member of their family.
Mama walked and rocked and swayed for as long as she was able, but there came a time when she was ready for some relief. Baby, though, had other plans. While waiting for the anesthesiologist, mama was suddenly feeling the need to push with her contractions. In matter of 45 minutes, she had gone from 5 cms to 10 cms!
Have I mentioned how much I love surprise babies? Mommy and Daddy made all of their family guess whether baby was a boy or a girl before they were allowed in the room. It was wonderful! Everyone was smiling from ear to ear and baby is as precious as can be.
Congratulations, Mommy and Daddy! Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your special day and share in the sweet beginning of your family!
Labor is unpredictable. Sometimes it's much longer than anyone anticipates. Last weekend I was able to be with a mama who's labor kept her up through the night and working all the way into the next afternoon. She was a trooper! She was so calm and focused. She breathed through her contractions and restfully waited for the next. When her moment came, she dug down inside herself to find the strength and energy she needed to deliver her baby. And she did it!
Mommy and Daddy welcomed a beautiful little girl with a head full of hair into our world. Everyone was thrilled! The proud Papa couldn't stop looking at his little girl and Mama was grinning from ear to ear over what she had accomplished.
I went to visit with the family tonight. I asked Mama how she felt about the birth. Before she said a word, her face lit up. She smiled that huge smile of hers and said, "It was wonderful!"
I know my heart was smiling, too.
Just got home from another birth. We've got a sweet new girl in our town! She is absolutely adorable and perfect in every way.
Mama had been planning a natural labor and delivery, then induction got thrown into the mix and her labor plans were up in the air. A few hours into the induction, things were picking up quickly and mama decided to go for the epidural. Unfortunately, the epidural didn't take and baby didn't want to wait any longer!
In the end, mama had the unmedicated birth she had originally planned on, baby was born in her bag of waters (so cool!) and while none of it was really what had been expected, it was all very awesome! Mama is a champ for sure! Baby was just as happy to see mama as mama was to see baby and I left them both snuggled in bed, sweetly resting together.
I actually thought I might miss a delivery this morning! There's always that chance that labor will progress quickly and I won't make it before the baby is born, but that is not typically how it goes. This morning gave me a run for my money, though!
My phone rang at 3:40 this morning. Contractions had started around 2 a.m. and they were pretty sure this was it. Mom was planning to labor at home for awhile, but while I was gathering up my things, I got a call saying that she couldn't stay home any longer and they were headed to the hospital. I met them at the hospital at 4:30 and she was 8 to 9 cms!
At 7:41 this morning, a sweet new soul joined our world. Another surprise baby (yay!) and beautiful new family of three is born.
Congratulations Mommy and Daddy!