THE VALUE OF LABOR SUPPORT (Doulas)
Feel free to ask us about suggesting a trusted doula for your birth!
Labor support or a Doula can be very valuable to a mother, her partner and family, having labor support for a mother can give her the confidence she needs to have the birth of her choice. Even if the labor isn’t exactly how she would have planned it, someone she can trust, talk to and rely on for information and support will help her have the confidence to make necessary, important decisions concerning her labor and birth.
A Doula for labor support may take some of the stress from the partner. The partner can just love the mother and be there for her in a way they are both comfortable and used to, instead of being responsible for comfort measures, informational support and other demands that they may be unfamiliar and that they may not feel confident or comfortable giving. The family also benefits having labor support, by feeling more secure with the labor process. Some family members may be very interested in being a big part of the birth team but may not be sure how to help the mother, a doula can help support the family to help support mom. When the family has a good birth experience, the whole
family benefits by having a great start with their baby.
The purpose behind providing labor support is to help moms, babies and families get off to a good start. Mothers need someone during labor to trust and someone to believe that they can do it. Mothers may also need to know they’re not alone and what they are going through is all for a good cause… the health of the baby. Different choices may be made during labor from family to family and there is no right or wrong. It’s all a matter of the choices that are right for that family, that labor and that birth.
The Doula’s responsibilities go far beyond the labor room. In the labor room, it may be a matter of suggesting positions, informing the mother and partner of obstetric procedures, and supporting the mother and partner so they feel secure with the trials of labor and the birth.
The Doula’s responsibilities really start during the pregnancy. The Doula has a responsibility to the family she is working with to encourage discussion, provide information and listen to the family’s needs and concerns, if the Doula doesn’t take responsibility to nurture the relationship between herself and the family in the beginning, then the mother may not feel confident and secure that the Doula knows what her wishes and desires are for her birth experience. When the trust is in place between Doula and family, the labor, birth and postpartum period seem to fall into place because the Doula understand the wishes of the family. The Doula, because of the close relationship, may know exactly where mom wants to be massaged, she may know how to prepare the birth room environment (music, lighting, temperature, quiet, fragrances etc..), she may know past issues that may be a concern for mom, she may know the choice of medications the mother prefers, if any, she may know the choice of comfort measures (Jacuzzi, shower, compresses etc…), positions (for different stages of labor), etc…
The Doula has responsibilities when it comes to the immediate postpartum period. The mother may need breastfeeding information and support, the mother may need newborn information and support, and the mother may need to discuss her birth experience. The Doula needs to be there for the mother to give her time to heal and time to express her feelings.
The Doula also has the responsibility in keeping up with education and certifications. Obstetrics changes from one birth place to another, changes from one medical team to another and changes from one family to another, The Doula needs to treat each family individually because every pregnancy, labor and birth is its own unique experience. It’s up to the Doula to keep up with the changes. It’s up to the Doula to do what she can to encourage positive communication between the medical team and the family. Positive communication makes a nicer labor experience and a more relaxing environment for all involved. By keeping up with education, birth place policies, routine procedures, medical team policies and knowledge of the family’s wishes, the Doula will help the family have a better birth experience just by being there to support and inform the family during their labor, birth and postpartum period.
Everything comes back to the mother and family. When the above responsibilities are being met, the value of labor support to the mother and family is so rewarding. Mothering the newborn is easier and much more pleasurable and the family as a whole is happier.
Cesarean Section 50% lower
Length of Labor 25% lower
Oxytocin Use 40% lower
Pain Medication 30% lower
Forceps / Vacuum Extraction 30% lower
Epidurals 60% lower
Maternal Fever lower
Days in NICU (newborn) lower
Septic Workups lower
Long Term Benefits
Increased time spent with baby
Positive maternal feelings