In greater Vancouver more and more couples and health care professionals are recognizing the benefits of Doula support in the birthing process. Studies have shown the benefits of Doula support are plentiful during birth and reach past the day of birth to influence the future of the family.
A Doula is a valuable part of the maternity care team. She is not a replacement for a doctor, midwife or nurse. Although she is a constant support to mama, this also differs from a partner’s role. A partner is central to the mother’s well being. However, many partners are not experienced in the unique physical and emotional demands of the birthing process. The Doula offers continuous presence, physical comfort and emotional support based on knowledge and experience in the birthing process. The Doula has a wealth of confident knowledge and ideas for pain management techniques. She has practical experience in the physical and emotional support of labouring women for long periods of time. The benefits of Doula support bring comfort and reassurance to the mama as she navigates the road of labour and childbirth.
The benefits of Doula support extend to the partner. The Doula is a calming and reassuring presence to both the labouring mama and to her partner. In fact, fathers usually feel less pressure when a Doula is present. They are able to participate in a more supportive capacity with the gentle guidance of the Doula. The partner may also take needed breaks since the Doula remains to support mama. It is often the partner who is most hesitant about the benefits of Doula support at the beginning but becomes the greatest advocate for the benefits of Doula support after experiencing that support themselves.
The benefits of Doula support may very well continue on into the future of the family. The support a couple receives during this critical beginning of parenthood may, in fact, empower mother and father in confidence, bonding and attachment as a family. What better beginning could there be?
Clinical Studies have shown benefits of Doula support include:
- Shorter labours with fewer complications
- Greater satisfaction with the birth experience
- Less need for interventions such as pitocin, forceps and vacuum extractions and cesarean
- Fewer requests for pain medications and/or epidurals
Further research shows that parents receiving support can:
- Feel more secure and cared for
- Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
- Have greater success with breastfeeding
- Have greater self-confidence
- Experience less postpartum depression
- Have lower incidence of abuse