Doula

If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it

DR JOHN H. KENNELL

The word Doula, derived from ancient Greek for female slave, was first used in a 1969 anthropological study conducted by Dana Raphael.

Raphael suggested, Doulas were common amongst communities and traditionally the role was taken up by a female friend or member of the family.

 

The overall goal of a Doula is for the mother to feel safe, be informed, feel comfortable and have continuity of care, enhancing the role of doctors and midwives which is to ensure a safe delivery for mother and child. Doulas have no clinical role, duties or decision-making. 

As a Doula, i am here to help inform and support your decisions with love and encouragement which will greatly assist in you having a positive pregnancy, birth and postnatal experience. 

Why Hire a Doula?

Hiring a Doula is an investment for the biggest day of your life - the memories of your birth experience will stay with you forever. 

Finding the right doula for you is worth the investment.

 

For less than the price of a child travel system, your journey to motherhood will be enhanced with a reduction in the risks surrounding pregnancy and childbirth as well as memories you will treasure for the rest of your life.

You may have some reservations – why would you let somebody you don’t know join you at such an intimate time? Your partner or family members may have similar doubts. Let me put your minds at ease. Our first meeting will be complimentary and without any commitment in order to get to know one another and ensure we are the right fit. Through our antenatal appointments we will build trust and a bond as a unit - partners included. By the time you birth your baby I will be far from a stranger to you.

Although having the support from a partner or family member is very important, it is also essential to understand where the knowledge, trust and support of your partner or family member ends and where a Doulas advocacy, support and knowledge begins.

With continued professional development, I am dedicated to learning more about my field of work and enhancing my skills for antenatal, postnatal and birth support. I am also able to provide you with impartial, evidence-based information so you and your partner can make informed and balanced decisions.

How Doulas are improving birth outcomes and breastfeeding success.

According to Evidence Based Birth, for two of these outcomes (designated with asterisks*), the best results occurred when a birthing person had continuous labor support from a doula– someone who was NOT a staff member at the hospital and who was NOT part of their social network. The researchers found that overall, people who have continuous support during childbirth experience a:

  • 25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean; the largest effect was seen with a doula (39% decrease)*

  • 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth; the largest effect was seen with a doula (15% increase)*

  • 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief; the type of person providing continuous support did not make a difference

  • Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference

  • 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five minute Apgar score; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference

  • 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience; mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was reduced with continuous support provided by a doula or someone in their social network (family or friend), but not hospital staff

Also, from the Doula UK website:

There is evidence to show that having a doula can mean:

  • Reduced risk of Caesarean birth † *.

  • Reduced risk of instrumental birth † *.

  • Reduced need for painkillers or epidural during birth † *.

  • Reduced rate of induction of labour † *.

  • Shorter labour †.

  • Increased parental satisfaction with the birth experience. †

  • Increased likelihood of initiating breastfeeding *.

  • Increased likelihood of successfully establishing breastfeeding & breastfeeding at 6 weeks *.

  • Lower incidence of depressive symptomatology †.

* Brigstocke S. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, vol 24, no 2, 2014, pp 157-160
† Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub5 and Bohren MA, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C, Fukuzawa RK, Cuthbert A. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub6.

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