"If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use." Dr. John Kennell
Women with doulas have...
30% reduction in analgesic use. 40% reduction in forceps delivery. 60% reduction in epidural requests. 40% reduction in oxytocin use. 50% reduction in the cesarean rate. 25% shorter labor.
(Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, Healthier Birth. Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus. 1993)
Doulas make a difference through support and encouragement. They are the mother's advocate - a liason between the mother and the staff.
"Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers - strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength." Barbara Katz Rothman
"Birth is not an emergency. It is simply an emergence." Jeannine Parvati Baker
Q: Is a doula the same as a midwife?
A:No. A doula's primary concern is with the emotional condition of the mother. Her job description is to provide continual emotional and physical comfort measures (non-medical), education and help communicate with medical staff.
Q: Do I really need someone to hold my hand and tell me to breathe?
A:Yes. There is so much that goes into the birth of a baby. A woman's body and mind are in a completely unique and somewhat fragile state and a doula understands this, knows what to expect and how to help you encounter each contraction with a focused and peaceful state of mind.
Q: Why would a married woman want a doula? Isn't that the husband's job?
A:Birth can be very overwhelming and stressful for men. They often feel out of their comfort zone and unsure how to really help. Many fathers find a great deal of reassurance and comfort in having doula support for their wives. Even experienced fathers find it extremely helpful to have someone else there. A doula does not take the place of the father, rather, will take some of the burden from him - freeing him to be emotionally available. A doula can reassure him of what is normal for birth and can help him find ways to get involved instead of passively watching and worrying.
Q: Why do I need a doula if I'm having a hospital birth? Isn't that what the nurse does?
A:Nurses are usually far too busy to give each mother constant attention. Each nurse has many duties that interfere with her giving undivided attention to any one patient. Many couples are shocked with the lack of attention they get when they go into the hospital. This is not a lack of quality care on the part of the hospital, but an unreasonable expectation on the part of the client. Having a doula will nicely fill the gap that can be created by the hospital birth.
Q: Why should I have a doula?
A:There are many reasons people choose to have labor support. One of the most convincing to me is the idea of continuity of care - knowing that you'll have someone laboring with you, not just coming to check on you.