Why hire a Doula?
Studies have shown hiring a doula can increase your chances of a healthier birth outcome.
39% decrease in the risk of Cesarean
15% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average
38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score
31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience; mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was reduced with continuous support provided by a doula or someone in their social network (family or friend), but not hospital staff
It is believed that Doulas are a form of pain relief in themselves (Hofmeyr, 1991). With continuous support, laboring people are less likely to request epidurals or pain medication. There is fewer use of medications because birthing people feel less pain when a doula is present. An additional benefit to the avoidance of epidural anesthesia is that women may avoid many medical interventions that often go along with an epidural, including Pitocin augmentation and continuous electronic fetal monitoring (Caton, Corry et al. 2002).
Swedish oxytocin researcher Kristin Uvnas Moberg writes that the doula enhances oxytocin release which decreases stress reactions, fear, and anxiety, and increases contraction strength and effectiveness. In addition, the calming effect of the doula’s presence increases the mother’s own natural pain coping hormones (beta-endorphins), making labor feel less painful (Uvnas Moberg, 2014).
A recent study in Iran compared first-time mothers’ anxiety and pain levels with doula support to those without doula support (Ravangard et al. 2017). They randomly assigned 150 first-time mothers to doula support or no doula support and used standard questionnaires to measure anxiety and pain levels. They found that on average, the mothers who received doula support had less anxiety and lower average pain scores during labor. The authors concluded that the doula’s presence has a clinically meaningful impact on anxiety and pain levels in first-time mothers giving birth.
Some people think that they do not need a doula because their partner will be with them continuously throughout labor. It is true that the birth partner is an essential support person for a birthing person to have by their side. However, the birth partner will need to eat and use the bathroom at times, and they are having their own emotional journey that requires support. Also, many partners have limited knowledge about birth, medical procedures, or what goes on in a hospital, while doulas have knowledge and experience about all of these things that they can use to inform and support both the partner and birthing person. Ideally, doulas and partners can work together to make up a labor support team.
Research has shown that the most positive birth experiences for fathers were ones where they had continuous support by a doula.
(experts taken from www.evidencebasedbirth.com)