You’re a Doo-What?

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The labor doula:

~ provides physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother and others who are attending her.

~ will assist the father or other birth partners by giving suggestions of things that will help the mother, giving them a break, and make sure they eat, drink, and rest to maintain their strength.

~ will assist the family to gather information and ask the questions necessary to make informed decisions when the need arises, although she will never make decisions for them.

~ will assist the mother and her partner to find the best methods to relax and encourage labor, including helping with positioning, breathing, relaxation, massage, and other comfort measures.

~ will never leave the laboring woman, maintaining continuity of care throughout the labor and birth.

~ will not perform any medical tasks, or clinical exams.

~ will not give medical advice or second opinions, and will not project her own goals onto a laboring woman.

Women supported by a doula during labor have been shown to have:

~ 50% reduction in Cesarean rate

~ 25% shorter labor

~ 60% reduction in epidural requests

~ 40% reduction in artificial oxytocin use

~ 30% reduction in analgesic use

~ 30% reduction in forceps delivery

Six weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas experienced:

~ Less anxiety and depression

~ More confidence with the baby

~ More satisfaction with their partner

Long-term benefits include:

~ Improved breastfeeding

~ Increased time spent with baby

~ More positive maternal assessments of baby’s personality and health, and maternal competence

~ Decreased postpartum depression

Source: Mothering the Mother, by M.H. Klaus, J.H. Kennell, and P.H. Klaus; Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, New York (1993).