How Doulas Support Parents and Partners

From our Friends at Adventist Health :

If you’re planning an extended international trip, you might work with a travel agent to manage your bookings — but you’d still love to have a local tour guide. If you’re buying a house, you’ll probably choose a realtor and mortgage broker — and really benefit from a personal financial counselor.

And if you’re going to be giving birth, you’ll partner with a doctor or midwife — and might really appreciate what a professional doula brings to working with you personally and enhancing your birth experience.

Professional Support for Your Personal Needs

You’ve probably planned to have a birth partner from your inner circle with you during labor and delivery. Often, that’s the baby’s other parent, a significant other, your best friend, a mother or sister. And while this person can provide immense support, encouragement and even distraction, they may be new to supporting someone in labor — and that can be an overwhelming responsibility.

A doula is a professional birth partner who provides emotional and physical support during labor and delivery. Their special training includes techniques to make labor easier and less painful. Many doulas provide support for postpartum recovery, newborn care and breastfeeding in your home after you and your baby leave the hospital.

While your medical team focuses on your and your baby’s physical health and safety, a doula ensures your mental, emotional and non-medical needs are addressed, too. They also serve as another person to help you communicate and understand what’s going on as labor progresses.

Benefits to Hiring a Doula

Anyone can benefit from a doula, whether you’re delivering with a doctor, using medication-based pain management, delivering with a certified nurse-midwife and taking a low-intervention approach. If you’re planning for an unmedicated birth, you’ll especially benefit from the physical support and pain management techniques doulas offer.

The benefits are many:

  • Lower cesarean rates and lower pain medication use: Studies show doula support means you are 9% less likely to use pain medication; 28% less likely to have a C-section; 35% less likely to rate your childbirth experience negatively.
  • Support for your support person: Partners often feel less stressed and more present during a birthing experience when supported by a doula. Doulas also coach your support person in how to better support you.
  • Physical support: A doula is trained in techniques and positions to help you manage labor pain. If you need help standing, squatting, leaning, stretching — they’re there!
  • Emotional and mental support: Giving birth is exhausting — and not just physically. A doula encourages, educates and empowers you to access your strength through labor and delivery.

How to Find a Doula

We’ve partnered with Gateway Doulas to provide support for laboring patients at the Family Birth Place. They provide physical, informational and emotional support, including:

  • Natural pain coping techniques.
  • Birth and postpartum planning.
  • Newborn care and feeding education.

If you’d like to learn more or hire a doula for your delivery, visit our website .

PDX Parent Staff
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