Women need to feel relaxed, safe and both emotionally and physically supported during labour. Giving birth is not just a mechanical process- it is absolutely intertwined with our emotions, get the emotional support right and it can change the way you birth. Here is Chloe Mulholland explaining what and why you might look to hire a doula!
Pregnant? Here’s 5 reasons to hire a doula
Doulas are professional birth companions. They support you right through your pregnancy, birth and for those first weeks after your baby is born. They are knowledgeable about the biology of birth, the inner workings of the maternity care system and they often have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to a more holistic approach to caring for you.
But is it really worth hiring one? Here’s 5 reasons why I think it definitely is.
1) Hiring a doula means you are less likely to need a c-section in labour.
Yup, it’s true. A review of all the available evidence in 2017 (link- https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub6/epdf/standard) , showed that “continuous support was most effective at reducing caesarean birth, when the provider was present in a doula role”. They looked at continuous support from a member of hospital staff, doulas and a family member or friend chosen by the woman. Of each of these options, doulas had the most impact on reducing the rate of c-sections being performed. The presence of continuous support reduced the risk of a c-section from 146/1,000 births to 109/1,000 births. And astonishingly the continuous support also reduced the number of babies born with a low Apgar score (this is the score given at birth to ascertain if a baby requires resuscitation or not, the higher the score, the healthier the baby). So, it’s a win win for mum and baby.
2)Having a doula means you can simply concentrate on birthing your baby.
Modern day maternity care invariably means that you end up giving birth with a midwife you have never met before. This means that they don’t know your in-depth history, they don’t know your wants and wishes for the birth and they don’t know how you want to be looked after. The thing is- when you’re in labour, you don’t really want to be focussing on all that faffing around and conversation. You want to be tuning into your body and going with each urge and sensation it presents you with. The beauty of having a doula means that she can communicate with your midwife, she can make sure that everything is set up how you want it and you don’t need to lift a finger. It’s perfect.
3)Doulas reduce the need for pharmacological pain relief.
Doulas are experts in providing tailored care for your needs- so if having an epidural as soon as possible is on your list, then a doula can certainly help you with that. However, for a lot of mums, an epidural is something they would really rather avoid. Unfortunately, in the absence of good support, often an epidural is the only place to turn and lots of these mums end up with an epidural they didn’t really want. Having a doula with you when you give birth reduces the chance of this happening- and this is all backed up by the stats in the review we talked about earlier.
4)Having a doula is like having a best friend, that just so happens to be an expert in childbirth.
Imagine you were moving house and your best friend just so happened to be a conveyancer. You’d be on the phone to her straight away, right? Well, having a doula is the same thing. Doulas aren’t there to boss you around, to make you conform to the system or to make sure you’re doing everything the Joneses are doing. They are there to make sure you are listening to your own voice, that you’re making decisions you’re happy with and that feel right for you and your baby. They’ll make sure you’re not pressured into doing anything you’re not comfortable with and they’ll give you a confidence boost every time you need it. What more could you ask for?
5) Doulas aren’t just there for the birth, they are there to support you in those difficult early days too.
So often the birth of a new baby brings with it a euphoria that is like no other but it can also bring panic, loneliness and confusion. A doula is there to mother you, so you can mother your baby. A doula will make sure you’re eating right, that you’re getting the rest you need and that you’re getting the emotional support that is SO essential. They can be your shoulder to cry on, when you’re feeling overwhelmed. They can be there, celebrating all the small (and big) wins- baby’s first feed, baby’s first bath, your first mouthful of Brie- it’s all part of the wonderful journey that is parenting. The emotional support you can get from a doula is simply priceless, especially when we live in a society that often sees us far removed from our own immediate families.
I can think of about a millions more reasons why doulas are wonderful and why I’d highly recommend hiring one for the birth of your baby but then we’d be here all day. So, I’m going to leave you with these top five reasons.
If you think that a doula might be for you- why not contact a couple of doulas today and arrange to meet them. Doulas will nearly always meet you once for free and if you don’t feel comfortable, there’e no obligation to continue but my guess is you’ll be hooked and simply won’t be able to say no.
By Chloe Mulholland. Chloe is an ex-midwife, now working as a doula across London and Essex. If you would like to find out more about her click the links below- https://doitlikeamother.co.uk/pregnancy/birth-doula-support/ https://www.instagram.com/chloe_do.it.like.a.mother/ https://www.facebook.com/Doitlikeamotherupminster/
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