To Doula, Or Not to Doula

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.

Symptoms

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.

It will look way better on your hips…

This morning I woke up feeling bloated and fat. Not pregnancy fat, but December fat. Before I even got out of bed, I was already mentally cleaning out our kitchen. After a lot of this all weekend…

Mmmmmmini pies!

Mmmmmmini pies!

Sitting around the table with "the Hooligans" (aka: my husband's boys) after an indulgent dinner and dessert.

Sitting around the table with “the Hooligans” (aka: my husband’s boys) after an indulgent dinner and dessert.

A not-as-delicious-as-the-real-deal, virgin bloody mary that accompanied buffalo wings and french fries.

A not-as-delicious-as-the-real-deal, virgin bloody mary that accompanied buffalo wings and french fries.

 

So, after all that, I think it’s officially time to start my “New Years’ Resolution” /  Get-it-together diet… today! Every year, I let the delicious food get the best of me and my healthy eating habits seem to vanish. But, I’m ready for health. Which is why, I have to apologize to my coworkers for making my vice their problem…

 

Enjoy the tasty treats! I'm sure they'll look amazing on your ass. Way better than on mine...

Enjoy the tasty treats! I’m sure they’ll look amazing on your ass. Way better than on mine…

 

Symptoms

Well, the biggest issues I’ve been having lately are with sleep. I’ve been so darn uncomfortable. Lots of tossing and turning. I miss my out-cold zombie sleep. Other than that, I’ve been getting headaches… although the last couple days haven’t been too bad… and I’ve been getting super hungry. Oy. Not amazing for trying to be healthy. What else?? I’m still having the numbing sensations on my left side. It’s even showed up when I’ve simply been leaning on a chair with my left arm. I’ll have to remember to ask my doctor about that next week. Despite all that, I do feel like I’ve been getting my energy back. Cooking doesn’t feel like such a daunting task and I’ve actually been relatively productive at home, which is always good.

Also, I’m starting to get even more excited for little baby. My friend, Kate, got me the cutest little gender neutral outfit…

I love mommy.

I love mommy.

It’s just too much cute.