There are many advantages to having a doula, there’s the statistics of lower pain relief required (30%), fewer c sections(50%), less epidural requests (60%), Shorter labours (25%) and better birth outcomes. Statistics are great, but why does having a doula reduce these rates, and make you happier with your birth outcome?
To begin with, you build a rapport with your doula during pregnancy. You spend many hours conveying your wishes, your fears and thoroughly dissecting them. Your doula will address your fears, show you evidence based research, share her experiences with you, possibly give you calming affirmations, meditations and tools to empower you and give you confidence in yourself and your body’s ability to birth your child, intervention free.
You work with your doula on your birth plan, nothing you want is too out there or crazy for her. She is there for you, if having Nine Inch Nails on your playlist while labouring is going to be the thing for you – you will more than likely be met with a “Hell yeah!” If all you want is a quiet darkened room, with little noise and conversation, she will do her best to facilitate that for you. Down to the smallest detail, your doula will have a copy of your birth plan, and keep it in mind.
One of the greatest things a doula does is to teach you how to advocate for yourself and your baby. Many women do not know that “standard procedure” requires consent. From getting blood drawn to an internal examination, every single one, of what is deemed standard, requires your consent. If you do not want internal examinations, your doula will give you information for you to make an informed decision. Your doula isn’t flippant, with an ‘F-the-establishment’ attitude. She will educate you on each procedure, you can then choose what you want during your birth. You are informed enough to say “NO”. Conversely, you are informed enough to say “yes, that is a good option for me”.
During your labour, your doula will quietly speak with you, massage your back, sway with you and suggest positions to ease discomfort. She will be there encouraging you every step of the way. If you become stressed, she will remind you to breathe deeply, remember your affirmations, stroke your body where it is tense. She will show your partner how best to support and encourage you, when they are scared and unsure of how to help you. She will show you how to use your body movements to bring your baby down, how to work with gravity, to go with your body instead of fighting against it. These are the measures that help reduce the need for pain relief, to open your pelvis, to feel an active participant, rather than a passive patient.
Another way a doula helps to prevent C sections, inductions, and interventions such as pitocin to speed up your labour is that she knows that all labours and deliveries are different. Babies do not have a stopwatch dictating how long your labour should be, how long that contraction should be, how long you should push for. She knows that you can do this, no matter the time frame.
A due-date is, at best, a guess of when your baby should be born, no one knows the exact time of conception, and no one knows how long your baby needs to gestate before he or she comes earthside. Because your baby is a week or two over the date you have been given, does not mean that there is a dire emergency to get that baby out. Unless there is a legitimate medical reason for your baby to be born, there’s no need to force the process. Baby will come when baby is ready.
Caeserean sections scheduled because of a big baby are usually way off mark. Ultrasound weight measurements can be off by one or two pounds. And even if they were spot on, who’s to say that the baby is too big to birth? We are designed to give birth, ligaments soften, the pelvis widens and the sacrum moves during delivery. I’ve seen some very big babies born to tiny mothers, with no problems at all. The only times I’ve known of mothers having to get a c-section has been due to either a birth defect in the mothers pelvis, or an injury to the pelvis that would not facilitate a vaginal birth.
And finally, having a doula is like having your own personal cheer squad. She has come into your life, you develop a close relationship with each other, and she believes in you, like no one else (except your partner of course). She has complete faith in you, which then rolls on to you, having the confidence in yourself. If you falter, she is right there, cheering you on, affirming how well you are doing, how you got this, and you are a rock star! She is there for you, not to push her agenda, but to support yours. Whatever informed choices you make, she’s in your corner 100%. There is no fear when you have someone who supports and believes in you, and is there purely for you. When you have that support, you feel as though you can achieve anything!
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