what is Doula Services – What are the Benefits: Doulas are trained professionals that assist mothers during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period by providing emotional, physical, and educational support. The goal is for women to have a positive childbirth experience that is also memorable and powerful. Doula is most commonly used to describe a person who assists a woman during labor.
However, there are also doulas who help pregnant women after they give birth. The labor doula is the main focus of this article. Doulas go by a variety of other names, including birth assistants, labor assistants, birth assistants, labor aides, and labor support experts.
What includes doula services?
Most doula-client interactions start in the weeks or months leading up to the birth. During this time, they build a rapport in which the expectant mother feels comfortable asking questions, sharing her worries, and participating in the development of her birth plan.
Doulas may be a great resource for learning about relaxation methods like perineal massage that can help ease the discomfort and trauma of labor. Most doulas are happy to take calls from the expecting woman and answer her questions or address her worries whenever they come up.
Keep in mind that they offer no medical assistance whatsoever. But they know a lot about the medical side of giving birth. As a result, they are better able to educate their patients on the processes and risks associated with labor and delivery in the last stages of pregnancy.
Doulas stay close by the woman at all times when she gives birth. They are able to alleviate discomfort by means of massage, laboring positions, breathing exercises, and relaxation methods. Doulas also provide comfort and promote partner involvement.
A doula is a support person who attends births to assist the woman get what she wants out of the experience. Whether the delivery is natural or assisted by surgery, a doula’s role is to ensure the mother feels supported and protected. Many labor doulas assist new moms with nursing and promote family bonding with the newborn shortly after birth.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
1. Higher rate of favorable birth outcomes
The presence of a doula has been shown to ease labor in a number of studies. A recent Cochrane Review, Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth, found that having a doula present was associated with a significantly higher rate of favorable birth outcomes.
Women who had their support were less likely to require pain medication during labor and to undergo a cesarean section. Additionally, women felt better about their birth experiences. Other research has shown that having a doula present at births reduces the need for oxytocin by 40%, the duration of labor by 25%, and the number of requests for an epidural by 60%.2
2. Feel-good hormone oxytocin
Doulas frequently employ massage and other forms of touch therapy to help their clients relax and focus on giving birth. Doctors Marshal Klaus and John Kennell claim that massage can increase levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin in the body.
The pituitary gland releases endogenous oxytocin into the circulation, where it stimulates uterine contractions, and into the brain, where it induces feelings of contentment, sleepiness, and a heightened tolerance to pain. It was previously believed that intravenous oxytocin did not deliver the same psychological effects as natural oxytocin because it did not pass from the circulation into the brain in sufficient proportions.
Recent research, however, suggests that oxytocin delivered via the nasal route and/or intravenously may enter the brain. Mothers can still reap the benefits of oxytocin without resorting to drugs with the assistance of doulas.
What about the father’s role when using a doula?
A doula’s job is not to take the place of the husband or partner during labor, but rather to improve the support they provide. More and more men nowadays are participating in childbirth alongside their wives. On the other hand, some men would rather watch the birth from afar than take on the role of labor coach. Having a doula there at the delivery allows the father more autonomy.
They can help the dad see the benefits of comfort practices and step in if he needs a break. The presence of a doula frees the father from the burden of having to recall everything he learned in delivery class so that he can focus on providing emotional support to his partner throughout labor and birth.