Tonight Mark and I are going to a “Doula Meet & Greet” at our delivery hospital. I don’t know much about the doula program being offered tonight, but my general understanding is that it’s a Doula Co-op, meaning that you won’t necessarily work with one doula prior to, during and after labor, but that it will work much like the typical doctor situation (ie: you get whichever doula happens to be working/on-call when you begin laboring).
Mark and I have talked about hiring a doula to help with our laboring process, but have not made a decision quite yet. For those of you who don’t know, here’s some background on doulas…
What is a doula? A birth doula is a trained labor coach who assists you during labor and delivery. She provides you with continuous emotional support, as well as assistance with other non-medical aspects of your care.
At this point, you might be thinking, “isn’t that what your husband is for?” BUT, the biggest difference is that this individual is trained in labor coaching and can answer your questions during labor, suggest positions during labor, help you with breathing techniques, etc. In fact, studies show that deliveries with doulas tend to use pain medication less often, have slightly shorter labors, and are less likely to have a c-section or a forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery.
According to DONA International, a doula is a professional who is trained in childbirth and provides continuous support to a mother before, during, and just after birth (postpartum doulas are not covered in this article). Doula comes from a Greek word that means “a woman who serves” or “handmaiden.”
According to this website, delivery outcomes with doulas had significant benefits:
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
- 28% decrease in the risk of C-section
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
Here are stats from another website:
- 50% fewer caesarean sections
- Reduction in the use of forceps vacuum by 40%
- 60% fewer requests for epidurals
- 40% reduction in the use of synthetic oxytocin for inductions or augmentations
- 30% reduction in use of pain medication
- 25% reduction in labor length
- Increased rates of breastfeeding at 6 weeks post-partum (51% vs 29%)
- Higher self-esteem (74% vs 59%), less anxiety (28% vs 40%) and less depression (10% vs 23%) at 6 weeks post-partum
Regardless of which is more accurate, it’s enough to intrigue me. I anticipate that labor is going to be the most physically and mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done and I want to be as prepared and well-equipped as possible. So, tonight, we meet doulas! I’ll let you know how it goes.
Ugh, I just feel very blah today. Tired, sluggish, and swollen. I know that it’s so natural and healthy to be gaining weight during this time, but I can’t help but look in the mirror and think, “Ughh, I look fat.” I love my tummy and the little baby inside, but I guess this is just the product of a person who’s spent their entire life concerned with image. I mean, I’ve always gained weight very easily and have had to work very hard to be thin. In fact, it’s only in the last 2 or so years that I’ve really gotten back to a comfortable, healthy place. And now, to watch my body change again feels wearing and kind of difficult. I can’t help but notice that my face is so dang puffy and I’m sure my tush is growing.
I’m sure people will read this and judge or say, “you look great. It’s just baby weight,” etc. etc., but I can’t help it. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop eating or giving my body what it needs to take care of our little babe. It just means that it’s hard to watch my body change. I think that’s fair.