Andrea Branagan  ~ Birth Doula ~  (407) 486-5911

Your  Body. Your  Decisions. Your  Birth. Your  Family!

Why Hire a Doula?
For a Better Birth Experience!
-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator

Educating yourself about childbirth so you're able to make informed decisions is a great way to increase your chances for a smooth labor. But you can't possibly learn everything you might need to know. That's where a doula comes in. A doula is a trained labor support person who provides emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. She (they're usually women) absolutely doesn't replace medical caregivers or your birth partner, but rather complements them.

There are many ways a doula can assist you, such as:

  • helping you prepare your birth plan
  • providing suggestions and exercises to help you have a more comfortable pregnancy
  • explaining medical procedures
  • providing emotional support
  • suggesting and providing non-pharmacological pain relief techniques (massage, heat therapy, positioning)
  • assisting with breastfeeding
  • providing partner support
  • working as an advocate so your birth plan is carried out
This list is just an example of some of the many services a doula may provide. Some fathers worry that a doula will take over their roles in the birth process. Being a birth partner is challenging work, and most fathers feel a sense of relief and enjoy the birth experience more when a doula is present. Many women state that they couldn't have given birth without their doula, but doulas aren't just for first-time moms. Many women hire a doula for second and third babies and beyond. If you weren't happy with a previous birth experience, a doula could improve the outcome of the next one. In fact, research shows that doulas do improve birth outcomes.

Women supported by a doula in labor have been shown to have: 

      ·         50% reduction in Cesarean rate

      ·         25% shorter labor

      ·         60% reduction in epidural needs or requests

      ·         40% reduction in labor induction and/or Pitocin use

      ·      30% reduction in analgesic use

      ·         30% reduction in forceps or vacuum delivery

      ·         Partner is more able to focus on mother's needs (closer connection)

      ·         Mother has a greater satisfaction with the birth experience 

      ·         Superior bonding experience with Baby

Six weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas experienced:

  • Less anxiety and depression
  • More confidence with the baby
  • More satisfaction with their partner

Long-term benefits of using a doula:

  • Improved breastfeeding
  • Increased time spent with baby
  • More positive maternal assessments of baby's personality and health, and maternal competence
  • Decreased postpartum depression