Monday, January 13, 2014

The Essential Birth Companion: A Doula ~ Now Available in the Maryland, Virginia, D.C. Area


Every once in a while, especially while in transition (i.e. relocating from Kuwait to Poolesville, MD), we need to go back to a basic explanation. 

What is a Doula? 

In the 1970’s, a doctor studying birth in South America stumbled across a significant phenomenon: women who had a female companion with them continuously during birth, labored for a shorter amount of time and had better outcomes than mothers who labored without companionship. He and his research team called these birth companions Doulas - a word with Greek origins, but which has now come to mean a female birth companion.

Today, Doulas have become a popular and essential member of a mother’s birth team. Doulas are not midwives, but they do provide non-medical care for the mother continuously throughout labor and immediately after birth. A Doula:

  • Recognizes birth as a significant life experience.
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a laboring woman.
  • Provides continuous support, practical comfort measures, and an objective viewpoint to aid in decision-making.
  • Complements the care provided by the woman's partner and birth attendants.
  • Protects and nurtures the memory of the birth experience.

Recent studies indicate the use of a doula:

  • Decreases labor length by 25 percent.
  • Decreases oxytocin use by 25 percent.
  • Decreases mother's request for pain medication by 30 percent.
  • Decreases cesareans by 50 percent.
  • Increases father's participation level.

“Having a Doula was by far the best decision in making my natural birth a reality,” says Addie Parker, a recent client of mine shared. “I was in labor for over 24 hours. I cannot express how essential it was to have my Doula by my side during this time.  She kept me grounded and focused during every contraction. She provided words of encouragement, kept me hydrated (avoiding an IV at the hospital), and kept me breathing which provided crucial oxygen to my baby.  
It was also great having her present because she was able to direct my husband so he could be involved with the labor, by suggesting tasks for him like rubbing my back while I was in the bathtub.  This was a wonderful way for him to be a part of the experience and feel of use.   
Overall, I can honestly say I don’t think I could have successfully birthed all-naturally without the support, guidance, and compassion of a doula.”

Doulas aren’t just for moms who want to have a natural birth. Doulas provide critical support to all moms, no matter how they end up birthing. 

“I don’t know what we would have done without our Doula,” said another mother who hired me for her planned cesarean birth. “After the birth I was sleepy and groggy. For the first day, I was too sleepy from pain medication to sit up, but our Doula showed my husband how to help our baby latch on. After our Doula left, it was my husband explaining to me and the staff how the baby should latch on when breastfeeding! Without her, I’m not sure we would have been successful with breastfeeding.” 

Ultimately, you can’t control everything that happens during your labor and birth. But you can labor with confidence having a knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate Doula by your side. Hire a Doula today! It will be the best decision you make for your birth!

Based out of Poolesville, MD and available in the tri-state area. 



1 comment:

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