Why Hire A Doula?
Updated: Jul 17
What Is A Doula?
Let's start this off by asking, what is a doula?
A Birthing Crowd doula has no agenda other than to support their clients decisions unconditionally and direct you to relevant information and resources.
A doula can take many forms, which is why having an interview with a potential doula is so important for both parties. Some doulas take a more holistic approach whilst others focus more on the informed birth side, and everything in between.
The main goal of any doula should be offering full support to birthing people and their birth crowd.
A common misconception is that a doula will only support certain types of births, like home or free births, but you can hire a doula no matter what type of birth you're planning.
What A Doula Is Not
A doula is not a medical professional and does not take a clinical role, though some may have medical backgrounds. A doula does not offer medications or make medical decisions.
A doula also does not share personal health information (PHI) with their clients health care provider unless given consent.
What does a doula do?
A doula develops a relationship with the birthing person and their birth crowd, which creates a safe space to ask questions and express concerns freely. They provide information and knowledge to the birthing person to help them gain a better understanding of possible birth outcomes.
A doula advocates for their clients and makes them feel heard, which can help prevent traumatic birth experiences.
The benefits of hiring a doula
Below i will provide some statistics from one of the biggest studies on labour support, (Hodnett 2012.) It highlights some of the benefits of having a doula supporting your birth.
People who have birth support are;
9% less likely to use any pain medication;
28% less likely to have a cesarean section;
31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin) to speed up labour; and
34% less likely to rate their birth experience negatively
A multi-clinical trail study, (klaus 2002,) points out that having a doula support your birth can significantly impact the birth process, statistics below;
25% shorter labour
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in oxytocin (pitocin) use
40% reduction in forceps use
50% reduction of cesarean sections
60% reduction in epidural requests
The practical side of a doula
A doula can provide a number of practical services to their clients before, during and after birth. Doulas may have different packages and skills on offer. below you'll find a variety of trained extras a doula may offer
breast/chest feeding support
baby wearing techniques
Practical things your doula may do before birth
arrange an interview
discuss birth plan
direct you to information relevant to your birth
attend midwife appointments if requested
go on call for your birth
arrange an alternative doula to attend your birth if they are unable
discuss your options with you
Practical things your doula may do in the birth space
making sure you stay hydrated
suggesting different positions
reminding the birthing person to use the bathroom if labour is long
helping fill the birth pool
help create your desired atmosphere
Practical things your doula may do after birth
clean up/help with pool
make meals (postpartum doula)
help with breast/chest feeding
babywear (postpartum doula)
help you to the bath/bed
take photos (upon request)
Why hire a doula?
The golden question.
Hiring a doula is an investment into you and your birth. If you feel like you need an advocate, someone to help you navigate through planning your birth or just a friend to support you and your birth crowd through one of lives most transformative experiences, a doula is right for you.
When you hire a doula you're hiring a listening ear, a voice amplifier and a warm hug; a body with your wishes at heart.
Hodnett, (2012) Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Klaus, M.H.; Kennell, J.H.; Klaus, P.H. Mothering the Mother: How a doula can help you have a shorter, easier and healthier birth. Addison Wesley Publishing Company. 1993. Updated in 2002 and renamed The Doula Book: How a trained labor companion can help you have a shorter, easier and healthier birth.