What is a Labor Doula?
A labor doula is a woman trained and experienced in childbirth, who supports the family before, during and just after the birth of the baby. She provides physical, emotional, and informational support to the laboring family. She serves as a supportive labor coach and information source.
The doula will meet with the parents during pregnancy to get acquainted and to learn about any prior birth experiences along with the history and expectations of this pregnancy. Most importantly, the doula will provide comfort, support, and information about birth options before and during labor. She will join the family during labor at the time decided on by the mother and stay by her side until the baby has been born and has started feeding.
Why Hire a Labor Doula?
With a doula at her birth, a laboring woman is never alone. A mother can count on her doula to support her and guide her in the kind of birth she desires. Nurses, midwives and physicians are responsible for the medical care the laboring woman needs and may care for more than one woman at a time. The doula’s only focus is on the mother’s emotional and physical needs, one mother at a time.
Studies from several countries show that when doulas attend births, women have shorter, easier labors, request less pain medications, are less likely to need oxytocin to speed labor and less likely to need vacuum or forceps delivery. Babies are also healthier and breastfeed more easily. Mothers have said they were much more satisfied with their birth experience. Medical caregivers and expert organizations recognize the benefits of labor support and agree that having a professional labor doula can improve maternal and fetal outcomes.
What about the Partner’s Role?
A doula does not take away from the partner’s participation in the birth process but rather, enhances it. When a doula is present, partners tend to feel less anxious, take fewer breaks away from their partner, stay closer to her and comfort her with their touch more often.
The other parent may be overwhelmed and surprised by the intensity of their partner’s experience. Thus many partners feel more relaxed with a doula present as she gives the reassurance that although labor is intense it is progressing normally.
Complications can occur that may upset the hopes and expectation that a couple has for their birth. A trained labor assistant can help the family work out options and feel more in control.
For Love of Baby Labor Doulas
All of the labor doulas at For Love of Baby are CAPPA trained and certified or working towards certification. This provides assurance that your labor doula has the skills and integrity to support your family in a professional and caring way. They all have differing types of experience and philosophies. This provides a well rounded choice of doulas to make sure there is a doula to fit every family.