What are the benefits of hiring a doula?

Do you need a Doula?

Let’s face it, ladies, childbirth is no walk in the park. Doulas are there to ease and facilitate every aspect of childbirth. Sounds good, right?

What is a Doula?

During delivery, a doula is present to advocate for the mother and make the experience as positive as possible. They also support other family members.

In modern medicine, giving birth has become a clinical procedure. However, this wasn’t always the case. It used to be that other women from the community would help out during birthing. The word ‘doula’ in fact comes from Greek, meaning ‘female servant’.

A psychoanalyst called Otto Rank, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, argued that all mental health problems are due to a trauma during delivery. This may be a little extreme, but certainly the help from a doula can lead to positive memories for the mother.

What are the benefits of hiring a doula?

Many studies across the world have investigated the effects of a doula being present at birth. A Cochrane Review, ‘Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth’ which is a systematic, comprehensive review of research in a certain area, found the following advantages of using a doula:

  1. Less likely to need a Cesarean Section

A doula can lessen the need for a C-section by almost half. If you have a C-section planned, a doula can still be of enormous assistance in preparing for the birth.

  1. Reduced time in labour

This could be the most attractive reason to hire a doula! Having a doula present can considerably lower the amount of time (up to 25% less) a woman spends in the delivery room.

  1. Reduced use of pain medication and epidurals.

Mothers are less likely to request various types of pain reducers and epidurals when a doula is present. Reasons for this include the soothing, massage and breathing techniques that a doula often uses to aid the woman.

  1. A happier birth experience

Having a doula can change a scary, uncomfortable experience into a positive and empowering one.

 

When does a relationship with a doula start?

Usually a relationship with a doula starts in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, formulating a birth plan and answering queries about pregnancy.

How can I find a doula?

If you will be giving birth in Jeddah, your network of ladies is probably the best place to search, as they will be able to give personal recommendations and contacts.

In North America, Doula Match is a great place to start.

Training organizations usually list the certified doulas in your country, if not city.

Don’t feel that you need to select the first doula you meet. Consider whether you feel any personal chemistry with them.

Ask about the training that they have had, their philosophies about birthing, availability, fees and exactly what services are provided.

Go with your girlfriend grapevine for recommendations and, perhaps most importantly, your intuition.

Reference

Hodnett ED., Gates S Hofmeyr GJ., & Sakala C. (2013). Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.(3) CD003766.

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