Whatever birthing method you choose one of the problems with a hospital birth in general is that very often however excellent the staff are they cannot be with you throughout the duration of your labour in its entirety as they are usually caring for one or two other patients as well. A doula is a non medical professional who can assist in those situations and hiring one is a choice that id becoming more and more popular
What is a Doula and What Do They Do?
A doula is a professionally trained person – almost always a woman – who has studied every aspect of childbirth who provides emotional, physical and informational support to Mums to be (and their partner) before, during and even after they give birth. She does not replace an OBGYN, she is not trained to do so, but instead offers the one on one continuous attention that medical professionals often cannot, especially during the actual birthing process itself.
A Mum to be usually forms her relationship with her doula several months before her due date. The doula meets with her and her partner several times to discuss their birthing plans (or to help them create one) and discuss and explore the fears and apprehensions they may be experiencing.
During the labour process a doula acts as the Mum to be’s support person, cheerleader and advocate. This is not to say they want to replace a partner either but they provide the calmer head that can encourage a partner to be as supportive as Mum needs them to be and to fully participate in the process. A doula’s presence allows a partner to be more emotionally supportive of the Mum to be something that is usually invaluable to any woman (even if they might not show that at the time!)
Doulas are usually trained in specialist techniques like massage, visualized relation and alternate birthing positions and they will use any or all of these tools to help mothers in labour in any way they can.
Many doulas do not leave the moment Baby is born. after Mum and Dad have spent time with Baby she helps Mums who are going to breastfeed get through one can be a very difficult first nursing experience and there are even some doulas who will continue to visit with the new mum and Dad for a few weeks after Baby is born often providing welcome emotional support or even just a helping hand in preparing food or to give a slightly overwhelmed Mum a few hours break!
What are the Advantages of a Doula Assisted Birth?
The studies that have been conducted into the impact a doula can have on the birthing process have been rather impressive. One joint US and UK study that found that the presence of a doula decreased the cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labour by 25% and patient requests for an epidural by 60%.
Finding a Doula
If using a doula interests you often OBGYNs know of good ones that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend. In Singapore there are also a number of organizations – the biggest being Parent Link – who help match couples to professionally trained doulas who are available in their area and on their due date.
Note: This is one of the many labor-series of articles planned out for MyPregnancy.sg. Do check back at http://www.mypregnancy.sg/category/labor/ for more ways of labor