Did you know that studies have shown that having a female support person in a non-medical role providing continuous emotional, informational, and physical support (aka labor doula):
1) Shortens length of labor
2) Reduces need for interventions
3) Increases feelings of a positive over-all birth experience
Each of these benefits cannot be underestimated. (#1) A shortened length of labor means less (#2) ’medical management’ of your labor. Opting for medical interventions or requiring interventions does increase your chances of caesarean section, which comes with greater medical risk because it is major surgery. (#3) Feeling supported during your birth is the most important factor in having an a positive birth experience. Regardless of how your labor goes, if you have a vaginal or a cesarean birth (planned or emergency), feeling supported in your birth experience can impact your well-being for the rest of your life. Giving birth is a major life rite of passage which can have life-long influence on self-esteem. Hiring a doula can help you see the ROCK STAR you are! Having the support of a labor doula is the best way to guarantee that you will feel this support. Labor nurses change shifts, OB’s and midwives have other patients that may require much more of their attention. Set yourself up for the greatest likelihood that you will FEEL supported and therefore love your birth experience, no matter what it is, by setting yourself up with emotional/informational/physical continuous support. Relying exclusively on our partners for this is putting tremendous pressure on a partner who most likely has never attended a birth, or has limited experience with birth. Why not also empower your partner with the added support of a labor doula who can offer informational and emotional reassurance in the normalcy of the process while helping them to be the most effective support they can be?
Keep in mind, doulas can be hired with fees based on experience levels. If you feel this service is not in reach of your budget, it is usually possible to find a ‘doula-in-training’ who may even offer services for free while completing certification requirements. Get yourself a labor doula and set yourself up for a positive birth experience!
Need more reasons? Check our this powerful article from NY Times Magazine on the vital importance of doula support for women of color: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/magazine/black-mothers-babies-death-maternal-mortality.html