The word doula comes from the Greek word meaning “woman of service.” Throughout time, birth has been attended by sympathetic women, a midwife, friend, mother. Once there was a doctor who was burned at the stake for dressing like a woman to observe a birth! It was only recently (in the 1940s) that births were shifted from home to hospital, with doctors attending births and husbands on the outside. Though partners are now allowed in the birthing room (which is fantastic because it’s their birth too!) most hospitals do not provide continuous support to birthing women. Couples can often be left alone for long periods of time.
Birth doulas help educate and support women and their partners throughout pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. We care for women and their partners physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally.
- Reduced the overall cesarean rate by 50%
- Reduced the length of labor by 25%
- Reduced pitocin use by 40%
- Reduced the use of pain medication by 30%
- Reduced forceps deliveries by 40%
- Reduced requests for epidural pain medication by 60%
- Reduced incidences of maternal fever
- Reduced the number of days newborns spent in NICU (neo-natal infant care unit)
- Reduced the amount of septic workups performed on newborns
- Resulted in higher rates of breastfeeding
- Resulted in more positive maternal assessments of maternal confidence
- Resulted in more positive maternal assessments of maternal and newborn health
- Resulted in decreased rates of postpartum depression
Kinds of doulas
- Labor doula – aides the family during late pregnancy, labor, and the immediate postpartum. We provide information and support, as well as help get breastfeeding off to a great start if the mother wishes to do so.
- Postpartum doula – helps in the transition into new parenthood with meals, breastfeeding, helping other children, household tasks, and infant care. They try to “work themselves out of a job” by helping you become the parents you were meant to be. This can be different than a night nurse or nanny.
- Antepartum doula – Antepartum doulas help women who have health problems, are on bedrest, and/or are considered high-risk. They have extensive knowledge of high-risk situations.
- Childbirth educators – people who have extensive training in the field of childbirth and are trained and qualified to teach childbirth classes.
- Lactation educators – people who have training in the field of lactation and are qualified to give lactation support and classes.
Currently I am focused on being a labor, sibling doula, and birth photographer. If you would like to find another type of childbirth professional, Doula Match and the Colorado Doula Association (CDA) are wonderful resources. You can also contact me for referrals of people I know personally. I’ll help you get in touch with the someone who fits your needs!