A birth doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to parents prenatally (often through childbirth education classes), continuously through childbirth, and postpartum. Doulas may offer support for just one of the above or all aspects of becoming a parent.
A doula is present to encourage and assist parents through this major life event. A doula will provide resources and strategies for handling childbirth and postpartum for mothers, fathers, other support people and babies.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, doulas across the world had to shift our practices and learn key skills to offer the above services virtually. Surprisingly, a lot of education, resources and support translates very well to virtual doula support.
The time required of an in-person doula limits the amount of clients a doula can take monthly. By offering virtual support, doulas can be available to more families at a more cost effective rate.
From Evidence Based Birth® Signature Article: The Evidence on Doulas, researchers found better overall outcomes for people who have continuous support during childbirth:
- 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
Want to learn more? Check out ebbirth.com/doulas!
The role of a doula at your birth will be unique to your experience as a birthing parent and partner! My job is to get to know you and offer strategies and options for managing labor and parenthood. This will be unique to every client. The unknown of childbirth and parenting can be overwhelming and I hope to offer some reassurance and guidance through the process. I look forward to being a small part of your journey!
Original article posted on TharreoBirth.com by Katie Hallum on August 15th, 2021.
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