ACOG recommends Doulas

There has been buzz about a study produced by The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in 2014 and reaffirmed in 2016 about the benefits of continuous labor support during labor.

“Increasing women’s access to nonmedical interventions during labor, such as continuous labor support, also has been shown to reduce cesarean birth rates.”

These new guidelines encourage birth providers to re-examine some standard practices that might not benefit low risk mothers. It is important that ACOG is publishing information that supports more individualized labor care and re-examining practices that might impede more than aid labor. Working relationships improve as studies show doctors and other birth professionals that doulas have a positive impact during labor and delivery. More mothers hear about and hire doulas which means more mothers receive the benefits of having a supportive birth experience.

 

To read the statement from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists click here

 

Why should you hire a doula?

There have been several studies recently on the benefits a doula can have on your birth outcome. Many people still assume that a doula is only for those who want a “natural” birth. Doulas are there to support a laboring woman in whatever way that woman desires. Whether you are having an unmedicated birth, an epidural, an induction, or a caesarean a doula can support you through your pregnancy and labor.

Journal of Perinatal Education

Top 10 reasons you should hire a doula:

  1. A doula has knowledge and experience about labor and birth to provide answers to questions about the birthing process
  2. A doula provides constant support during labor
  3. A doula supports you before and after labor, not just during it.
  4. A doula learns your wishes and desires for your labor and birth and helps you achieve them
  5. A doula provides support to your partner so they feel confident and comfortable assisting during labor
  6. A doula can help lower birth risks
  7. A doula helps you get information for informed decision making
  8. A doula can help you with breastfeeding if that’s what you desire
  9. A doula provides encouragement and support without judgement
  10. A doula is there for YOU! Her primary focus is supporting you however you need.

Why I wanted a doula

Some people have not heard of a doula before and others are well informed about who they are and what they offer. Personally I did not know what a doula was before the birth of my first child. I did my research, created a birth plan, and headed to the hospital with a plan but also relying on my doctor to provide the best birth experience for me.

The birth of my first child didn’t go as planned. My birth plan went out the window as soon as I was admitted to the hospital (on our 4th trip in 2 days). I was exhausted, it was my first child, and I didn’t have support to stick to “my plan”. My daughter was still delivered safely and both of us were healthy but her birth had not gone the way I had hoped.

By the time I got pregnant with our second child I knew I wanted her birth to be different. I wanted to be more prepared to have the birth I desired….enter in a DOULA. In the time between having my first child and getting pregnant with my second I had met a doula. She told me about what she did and why. I knew having a doula was the answer to my desire for a different birth story. For me the cost was definitely worth it despite being an out of pocket expense. Having someone there to support me and my husband as I prepared myself for what I assumed would be another long labor seemed invaluable. I had someone who I could talk to about my concerns; someone who had experience and knowledge of labor techniques and positions, and most importantly someone who would be with me the whole labor.

The birth of my second child was very different than my first. I did even more research, I hired a doula, and made a birth plan that was respected and followed. I felt more confident in my body’s ability to birth naturally and felt fully supported throughout the whole labor.

What does being a doula mean to me?

A doula as defined by DONA International is :

a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.

My desire as a doula is to help mothers and their partners have the best possible birth experience. Whether it be medicated or unmedicated. There are an overwhelming number of options in birth and my desire is to provide credible information about the various options so that a mother can make an informed decision about what she desires for her birth. Every woman has a different vision of what her ideal birth would look like. It is not my place to tell you how your ideal birth should look but rather support you in the decisions you have made. I bring personal and professional experience as well as knowledge gained from training and research.