What Is A Doula?
Doula is a greek word meaning “woman who helps women”. In South Africa Doulas are also known as Childbirth Companions. These are women who offer continual emotional and physical support to labouring woman in the form of comfort, reassurance and gentle touch. Doulas usually stay with the mother throughout labour, constantly assessing and responding to her needs. After birth, a doula may also assist the new family at home.
Why Do You Need A Doula?
The defining characteristic of Doula care is continuous, uninterrupted, emotional and physical support for the woman for the duration of labour and childbirth. The Doula can use many kinds of touch, massage and positioning, depending on what the mother finds helpful, or she may be a soothing and reassuring voice during a critical time.
Studies have shown that a Doula’s touch and support leads to reduce pain – or, at the very least, the mother’s perception of reduced pain.
A worldwide study, involving more than 1500 women, found that mothers who received Doula support were the ones with the shortest labours. Other benefits found in this study include:
- Over 50% drop in caesarean births
- 30% reduction in the mother’s need for medication
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery
What Will A Doula Do For Me?
- Recognises childbirth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a women in labour
- Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for birth
provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman gain access to the information she needs to make good decisions
- Facilitates communication between the labouring woman, her partner, and medical care providers
- Perceives her roles as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of her birth experience
Beyond Labour: Benefits To Mother And Baby After Birth
The benefits of Doula support do not end after the labour and birth. Worldwide research shows the Doula support leads to better attachment and bonding between mother and baby, reduced need for medical intervention and overall positive feelings about the labour and birth process.
For More Information Visit: Doulas In South Africa
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