WHAT IS LABOR SUPPORT?
Throughout the ages, in nearly all societies for which we have records, women have been helped and comforted in labor by other women. These women stayed throughout labor providing physical comfort, emotional reassurance, and information. Essentially, labor support is "mothering the mother." Today, labor support professionals called doulas (DOO-lah; Greek for "woman who serves") are trained to provide the comfort and care women need during labor.
WHAT IS THE BEST EVIDENCE ABOUT CONTINUOUS SUPPORT DURING LABOR?
This largest and most recent systematic found that when compared to women who did not receive continuous support, those who received continuous support were LESS LIKELY to:
-have an epidural or other "regional" analgesia
-use any type of pain medication (including narcotics)
-give birth by cesarean section
-give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
-give birth to a baby with a low Apgar score rating of well being
-be dissatisfied with or give a negative rating to their birth experience
• 28% less likely to give birth by cesarean section
• 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labor
• 9% less likely to use any pain medications and
• 34% less likely to be dissatisfied with or negatively rate their birth experience
*(Hodnett and colleagues 2011)
Meet our Birth Doulas
ABOUT POSTPARTUM DOULAS
In the first weeks after a baby is born, a postpartum doula can offer the extra support that families need. When mothers of newborns have special care at home, there is an increased probability of successful breastfeeding and lower risk of postpartum depression. The mother can better heal from birth and learn to take care of her baby in her home environment.
Postpartum services may include:
• a home visit to help prepare for the baby
• care for postpartum physical needs
• emotional support for the postpartum period
• hands-on instruction in basic newborn care, infant massage, and soothing techniques
breastfeeding support and instruction
• screening for problems with mother or baby and help finding solutions in the community (referrals)
• laundry, meal preparation and tidying
• running errands and grocery shopping
• helping older siblings adjust
• baby care while mother rests, bathes, etc.
• support as partner learns to care for baby
• instruction on the safe use of baby equipment
Meet our Postpartum Doulas