She knows what you do not
In any event, there are many issues
that will come up during birth; some of which
can be helped by comfort measures, some which require medication and some caused by medication. Likewise, a Doula is just as busy with a mom
who has had an epidural as one who is not medicated.
Here is something you probably don't know:
Changing positions to help the baby and mother, massage, tending to discomfort, and emotional support are just as important for a medicated birthing mom
as an unmedicated birthing mom.
She Has Experience
Let's face it ...today the majority of births occur in hospitals with a lesser % in birth centers and at home. In America, a large amount of birthing mothers look to obstetricians for prenatal, birth, and postpartum care.
On the other hand, this is changing, as some hospitals have created family birthing environments, greater support
for birth choices, and obstetricians are encouraging and supporting parents to become aware of their many choices in care with midwives and CNM's. Home Water Births too. Until now, you may feel that your partner is sufficient support and you don't need another person to attend your needs.
However, wait until you see how long labor can be; your partner may need to support you through hours of latent labor; and there is no one to relieve them for bathroom breaks, to acquire nutrition, or even just a moment to rest. It turns out, the nurses obviously have other patients to tend to, or paperwork, and may not be able to attend to your needs consistently during your labor.
That's why you're being monitored by machines so they can view you at the nurse's station. Just let this sink in for a minute... machine - a monitor and not a person. But, if you prefer, a personalized doula can come to your home to assist & and support in early labor, and is a constant presence during active labor and birth.
And here is the great news for you, a Doula makes sure both the mother and partner have comfort and support.
And of course, some women feel that extra support is not needed because they've chosen medication during birth. However, that's not all - the benefits of having labor support go beyond medication choices.
Benefits of a Doula
Don't just take my word for it, here is something
you probably don't know about what the research says
on the benefits of a doula... You see, there have been several studies,articles and books written about doula support.
What it all boils down to is the most famous
*Mothering the Mother" by Klaus, Kennel and Klaus.
In their studies they found that the presence of a doula:
Reduced c-sections by 50%
Love gives birth
Reduced the length of labor by 25%
Life on time
Reduced oxytocin use by 40%
Healthy brain function for your baby
Reduced the need for pain medication by 30%
Comfortable for you and your baby
Reduced the need for forceps by 40%
Gives you and your baby safe delivery
Reduced requests for epidurals by 60%
Gives you and your baby healthy delivery
Yes, you read that right ...Klaus stated
"Doula support enhances the well-being of mothers & babies, leads to fewer medical interventions in the process
of labor and delivery, and saves money for the individual
and the hospital.
Value of Hiring a Doula
Women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth.
What does this mean?
It means that if you have continuous labor support (that is, someone who never leaves your side), you are statistically more likely to have better outcomes and your baby is more likely to have better outcomes!
How did doulas compare to the other types of continuous support?
The researchers also looked to see if the type of support made a difference. They wanted to know—does it matter who you choose for your continuous support? Does it matter if you choose a midwife, doula, or partner for your continuous support? They were able to look at this question for 6 outcomes: use of any pain medication, use of Pitocin during labor, spontaneous vaginal birth, C-section, admission to special care nursery after birth, and negative ratings of birth experience.
For most of these outcomes,* the best results occurred when woman had continuous labor support from a doula– someone who was NOT a staff member at the hospital and who was NOT part of the woman’s social network. When continuous labor support was provided by a doula, women experienced a:
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*
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
34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience*
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.
Why are doulas so effective?
A doula can act as a buffer in a harsh environment.
There are 3 main reasons why we think doulas are so effective. The first reason is the “harsh environment” theory. In most developed countries, ever since birth moved out of the home and into the hospital, women have been giving birth in conditions that can often be described as harsh. In the hospital, laboring women are frequently submitted to institutional routines, high intervention rates, personnel who are strangers, lack of privacy, bright lighting, and needles. Most of us would have a hard time dealing with these conditions when we’re feeling our best. But women in labor to deal with these harsh conditions when they are in their most vulnerable state. These harsh conditions may slow down a woman’s labor and decrease the woman’s self-confidence. It is thought that a doula “buffers” this harsh environment by providing continuous support and companionship which promotes the mother’s self-esteem (Hofmeyr, Nikodem et al. 1991).
The third reason that doulas are effective is because doulas are a form of pain relief (Hofmeyr, 1991). With continuous support, women are less likely to request epidurals or pain medication (Hodnett, 2011). Why are women with doulas less likely to request pain medications? Well, women are less likely to request pain medications when they have a doula because they just don’t need an epidural as much! Women who have a doula are statistically more likely to feel less pain when a doula is present. Furthermore, by avoiding epidural anesthesia, women may avoid many medical interventions that often go along with an epidural, including Pitocin augmentation and continuous electronic fetal monitoring (Caton, Corry et al. 2002). Source http://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/