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