At my most recent client's birth, I got to be on the other side of the camera. Special thanks to Jessica who captured these photos of the support I provide as a doula!
A doula is a multi-faceted support person. I coach moms to help them relax and break the fear>tension>pain cycle, I help them use positive visualizations, suggest more comfortable/effective positions to help labor progress, and also do double hip squeezes, counter pressure, and use a rebozo to provide comfort in labor (and coach dad on how to do the same).
It is fulfilling work to take moms from a place of fear to that of confidence in anticipating birth.
The article I wrote for Macaroni Kid Durango about what exactly doula support looks like was published this morning.
Read more here: Doulas Empower Birth
This is a common question especially from families planning a homebirth. Here's my answer: A doula frees up the midwife to spend all of her energy on the medical side of birth, resulting in a safer birth all around. If a midwife is exhausted from hours of encouraging, coaching, and emotionally comforting a mom then her mind will not be as sharp when it is needed to make split second life-affecting decisions as the baby is born. Midwives do not typically provide extensive emotional support anyway, and often do not arrive as early in labor as the doula can. With a doula specializing on the emotional and comfort side of labor, the midwife is able to provide better medical care. The mom gets all of her needs met by having professionals there both for her emotional needs and for her medical needs.
I just saw this engaging video, and highly recommend it. It'll leave you feeling very positive about natural labor and birth and how you can best prepare for it.
Want to lower your chances of having a C-section? Doulas have recently been recognized "by two leading physician groups as playing an important role in reducing the nation’s cesarean birth rate and improving overall labor and delivery outcomes. Research indicates that continuous physical, emotional and informational support before, during and just after birth by a trained and experienced professional has significant benefits to both mother and child.
"In a statement issued earlier this year by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal– Fetal Medicine, "doulas were highlighted as both an effective and underutilized solution to improving labor and delivery outcomes.” You can read the details in the DONA press release.
I recently coached another mom through a successful VBAC so I know firsthand that it is possible!
Read this great article over at www.mothering.com:
20 Reasons You Should Hire a Doula
From The New Pregnancy & Childbirth, by Kitzinger:
"Research shows that if a woman has another woman with her during labour and birth she has less need for pain-relieving drugs and her labour is shorter. There are fewer operative deliveries (forceps, vacuum extractor and Caesarean sections) and episiotomies. Babies are in better condition at birth, and mothers are much more likely to look back on the birth as a positive experience. Studies have also revealed that these women have fewer perineal lacerations, are more likely to be breastfeeding at six weeks, and are less likely to be depressed.
"Ten randomized controlled trials that involved 3,000 women in childbirth who did not even know their companions before they went into labour have confirmed the benefits of having a support person. The constant presence of a birth companion who is focused on your needs has turned out to be one of the most effective forms of childbirth care... Women have always had other women with them [during labor]. In medieval Europpe women birth companions were known as 'God sibs' -- literally, 'sisters in God.' ... Having not only your partner but also [a woman] whom you know and trust, and whom you have selected, helps you relax and increases s"
Melanie Ellison, Durango CO
Childbirth fascinates me, and I always love learning more tidbits about it and sharing them with you. I also post photo galleries here from my photoshoots. Sign up for the RSS feed below so you don't miss a post!