Benefits of Doulas and their impact on healthy birth outcomes


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A year ago yesterday I attended this beautiful birth at the #BirthCenter here in #Winnipeg. It was really hard. This brave woman was so sick with a nasty unrelenting flu. She pushed through her awful symptoms and birthed a beautiful healthy boy. Alongside her were her supportive husband and incredible doula and the midwife team. Wow that was a beautiful birth, just thinking back on it. A whole year has gone by….so crazy. This is a shot I took of doula Ali helping and supporting this gorgeous mama goddess with the first latch. I really revel in these moments – they are so pure and real and fundamental. #birth #birthstories #1yearlater #doula #alisonritchie #sacredpregnancy #postpartum #fresh48 #birthphotography #thisisbirth #birthcenter #birthcentre #canadianmidwives #mb_midwives #supportMBmidwives #midwifery #doulacare #independentdoulas #instinctsofmotherthood #firstlatch #breastfeeding #breastfeed #fedisbest #postpartum #takebackpostpartum #birthbecomesher #womensupportingwomen #stopcensoringmotherhood #normalisebreastfeeding

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Childbirth can be a such a vulnerable and emotional time in a woman’s life. Even if your feeling invincible and ready to rock the incredible experience that is child birth, all Mother’s feel a sense of vulnerability and protectiveness of their young and that they will come into this world alive, healthy and free of complications.

So if I told you that you can:

  1. Reduce your chance of a cesarean by 28%;
  2. Increase your chance of a spontaneous vaginal delivery by 12%;
  3. Reduce the likelihood of pitocin/syntocinon by 31%;
  4. Reduce the likelihood of an epidural or pain relief by 9%;
  5. Reduce your length of labour by 40 minutes;
  6. Make your baby 4 times less likely to have low birth weight;
  7. 2 times less likely to experience birth complications;
  8. A higher chance of high APGAR scores; and
  9. Increase your likely success of breastfeeding…..

You would jump at it right? It would be crazy not to want these types of outcomes. Well your in luck Mama… the way to do this is simple – hire a Doula!

Yep, these are the findings of a 2013 systematic review covering 22 studies of more than 22,000 women. You can access the Cochrane study here. Furthermore, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology concluded in 2008 that out of 41 different types of birth practices, Doula care is amongst the most effective (in fact 1 of only 3 practices to receive an “A” grade).


So what is a Doula and what do these super-doulas do?

A professionally trained and/or certified doula is a key support person for a Mother before, during and after birth. They are trained to provide continuous emotional, physical and informative support based on best practice and outcomes for Mother and baby.

I hate to put the role of a Doula in a nutshell because the support that each Doula can offer is so varied and much of that support goes beyond what words can explain. It’s like outlining the “role” of a Mother will never explain the real impact that a Mother has on her child. So with that in mind, some of the more literal roles of a doula include:

  • Providing antenatal resources and referrals
  • Answering questions about labour and birth
  • Teaching the Mother strategies and techniques to use during labour
  • Facilitating communication between the Mother and other birth professionals
  • Supporting women to make informed decisions and advocate for themselves
  • Physical assistance during labour such as massage and relaxation techniques
  • Providing encouragement and emotional support (this includes support for Dads too!)
  • Maintaining a calm birthing environment
  • Assisting with general tasks such as preparing snacks, drinks and help setting up/tidying the birth area

Should I have a Doula?

It is common for women who have never experienced birth or the care of a Doula to feel uncomfortable about letting another person in on such an intimate time – but please remember that Doulas become Doulas for one reason and one reason only…

Doulas LOVE women. They aren’t there just for cute babies (well maybe a little). They love empowering, supporting and holding space for others. Women lifting other women up is a powerful force and the benefits speak for themselves. 

We all know that our birth choices can greatly determine outcomes for both Mother and baby so being informed and well supported is critical. By having the care of a doula you are setting yourself up for an empowering and positive birth. 

Jump over here to learn how to plan your dream natural birth in 5 easy steps.

Find a Doula in your area:

ACT

Laney Sweet – The Birthing Tree

NSW

Keri Holloway – Mum and Cub

NT

Leisa Masters – Earthside Babe

SA

Kelly – Elemental Beginnings

TAS

Cherie Chugg – Doula Cherie Chugg

VIC

Angela Gallo –Angela Gallo

Julie Bell – Melbourne Doula

QLD

Moran Liviani – 2Life Doula

Peta Tuck – Brisbane Doula

WA

Helena Hentz – Dream Birth 

Vicki Hobbs – Vicki Hobbs

Kristin Beckedahl – BodyWise BirthWise

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