Abby Block, CD(DONA), CBC

Certified Birth Doula & Breastfeeding Counselor Serving Brooklyn & NYC

Why Hire a Doula?
And What Does a Doula Do?

Respecting the woman as an important and valuable human being and making certain that the woman’s experience while giving birth is fulfilling and empowering is not just a nice extra, it is absolutely essential as it makes the woman strong and therefore makes society strong.
— Marsden Wagner

Maybe you're sure you want a doula, maybe not. Or maybe one of you is sure, and the other partner is not. Or maybe both of you aren't sure... 

For the birth of my first child, my husband and I couldn't decide whether or not we wanted to hire a doula. We were worried about finding the right person. And then we wondered that even if we found the right person, would it be too crowded with a doula? Would we feel inhibited or watched or judged? And what about the cost, we wondered, would it be worth it? As it turned out, hiring a doula was one of the best decisions we made regarding the birth of both of my sons. My doula provided helpful tips during labor, coached me during contractions to control my breath, helped us know when to call the midwife, and was an excellent helper after birth, holding the baby during my immediate postpartum care so that my husband and midwife could focus on my care, making food for my husband and I, running an errand, and overall keeping everything together so that we could focus our energy on me and the baby.

I believe the experience of the birth process is vitally important. The state of your physical and emotional wellness during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period can have lingering effects – positive or negative – depending on the nature of your experience. A doula absolutely has the ability and the capacity to support and guide you and your partner towards a positive, empowering, and memorable experience. Whether or not you have been looking forward to this day of giving birth for years, or whether it's something you're hoping to get through and get over with as swiftly as possible - or something in between - your doula is there is there to facilitate the process. I truly believe that strong, fulfilled mothers make strong societies.

That's my anecdotal evidence for you. I recommend asking around from friends and other trusted women who gave birth, and find out whether or not they used a doula and why. Doulas are an Evidence-Based practice, and in the words of John H. Kennel, MD, "If doulas were a drug, it would be unethical not use it."
 

Research shows that with a
doula, women in labor are:

• 28% less likely to have a cesarean section

• 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed labor

• 9% less likely to use any pain medication

• 34% less like to rate their childbirth experience negatively

 

Articles on the Benefits of Having a Doula:

Best Evidence: Doulas and Labor Support

Doulas and Health Care Providers: Working Together for Better Maternal and Infant Outcomes

The Obstetrical and Postpartum Benefits of Continuous Support During Childbirth

Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth

 

 

What exactly does a doula do? A doula...

  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level

And lastly, if you want more info on what a doula does and how we can support you during labor, please watch DONA's video below, "The Essential Ingredient: Doula."

Now that you know all the reasons to hire a doula, maybe you’re ready to schedule a meet and greet to find the right doula for you. 

Here’s some great advice on How to Hire a Doula

Let's set up your free consultation!