What is a doula, and why are they important?
Women have used doulas around the world for hundreds of years to help them through childbirth. Which makes sense since women know women, and in any challenging time within our life it’s the ladies we love whom we turn to for support. A doula is there to care for any pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum needs a woman may have along her journey towards motherhood. A doula helps to remind women of their own power while offering relaxation techniques, massage, nutritional guidance, and knowledge before, during and after childbirth.
In addition to it just making intuitive sense, there’s research to back up the benefits of having a doula. Research shows that doulas help to reduce the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, requests for an epidural by 60%, and have contributed to a 50% decrease in cesarean birth rates. Mom by LJ has experience with everything from the most grueling hospital births to serene home births by the sea, scheduled inductions, C-sections, water births, and everything in between.
One reason for these positive effects is likely the use massage, which causes the brain’s pituitary gland to release oxytocin to naturally promote uterine contractions. It also promotes a general feeling of wellbeing and an increased threshold for pain. Synthetic IV oxytocin, the contraction-inducing medication often required once an epidural pain reliever has been administered, does not provide the same positive psychological side effects. For more information on the benefits of having a doula, please check out our resources.
*1 Hodnett ED. Gates S Hofmeyr GJ. Sakala C. Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.(3) CD003766, 2003.
*2 Klaus, M., Kennell, J., Klaus, P. Mothering the Mother.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1993.