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The Purpose and Value of Labour Support

"There are also studies that show that having a doula present at a birth lowers the likelihood of using pain medications, mothers are less likely to end up having a cesarean birth, and women who had doulas reported an overall deeper satisfaction with their birth."


The benefits of labour support to the mother and her family:

Giving birth is a pivotal event in a woman’s life. Birth is more than just a physical act, but is also about a woman’s transition into motherhood. This moment can either be negative and traumatizing or it can leave a family feeling ecstatic. Studies show that on a psychological level, women who have had continuous labour support had better maternal-infant interaction, enhanced success in breastfeeding, greater satisfaction with the birth experience, less postpartum depression, less anxiety, and greater self-esteem. There are also studies that show that having a doula present at a birth lowers the likelihood of using pain medications, mothers are less likely to end up having a cesarean birth, and women who had doulas reported an overall deeper satisfaction with their birth. Mothers with doulas are less anxious, more confident with their baby, more satisfied with their partner and more likely to breastfeed. When a labouring mother and her partner feel fully supported, they are better able to let go of their fears and anxieties and allow labor and birth to occur as naturally as possible. The benefits of loving and respectful support during childbirth helps the mother and her family to feel cared for while reducing negative feelings about the childbirth experience. A doula’s constant presence and reassurance in the birthing environment can help in easing some of the stresses of labour, both to the labouring woman and her partner.


"The purpose of a doula is to lend encouragement and support when needed during the birthing process."


The purpose behind providing labour support:

Labour can be an extremely trying time for a mother and her partner, especially if they are unaware of how the birthing process works and they are left alone in a hospital room with little information or positive support. Doulas provide families with the non-clinical care aspects of childbirth, both emotionally and physically. A doula has been trained to understand the normal process of birth and trusts a woman’s natural ability to give birth. The purpose of a doula is to lend encouragement and support when needed during the birthing process. A doula not only helps the mother but can also help support the partner so that they can love and support the labouring mother. She is able to understand medical intervention and advice from the medical team. She will remain a familiar face and constant presence during labour, regardless of medical staff shift changes, offering encouragement to the labouring mother and providing relief and reassurance to her partner.



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The doula’s responsibilities:

A doula’s responsibility is primarily with her clients. This starts during the pregnancy by working with the family to encourage discussion, provide information and listen to needs and concerns. Doulas do not have medical training, and so do not provide any medical services. This includes but is not limited to vaginal exams, blood pressure readings, or listening to fetal heart tones. Rather, a doula’s responsibility is to provide emotional, physical and informational support to a mother and her birthing partner. A doulas’ job is not to force opinions or to give advice, but to offer information so that the woman can make the best choices based on her individual needs. It must be noted that while doulas do help parents advocate for themselves and their babies, they are not to make decisions for a labouring mother. She can however serve as a reminder to the couple of their choices. A doula is also responsible for keeping up to date with medical advances pertaining to birth, to better inform parents of their choices.





The Doula’s role:

Perhaps one of the most important roles of a doula is to provide information and support during pregnancy and prior to birth. Through prenatal education and preparation, a mother will become knowledgeable about childbirth, know what to expect, and learn how to cope with the physical and emotional demands of labour. The doula’s role during labour and delivery is to provide physical comfort and emotional support throughout the process. Their job is, no matter what happens, to ensure that the woman feels supported in her choices. During the postpartum visit, a doula can help the parents process their birth, and fill in any gaps that they may not recall and provide resources and referrals when appropriate.. Overall, a doula’s main role is to provide parents with information and support leading a satisfying birth experience.


Author: Laura Gauthier - Baby Mine Birth Services

Laura has over 11 years of experience as a certified Birth Doula! Her trainings and certifications include Bereavement Doula, Childbirth Educator and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. Currently in her second term as the President of the Red Deer Doula Association, Laura leads her fellow Doulas in the association with her vast knowledge and experience, along with her big heart and sense of humor! Laura is also a loving wife, mom of four kids, fluent in French, Loves to sing and even went on tour with her rock band! You will have to ask her about that!

Check out her website at:

https://www.babyminedoula.com/

And follow her on socials at:

https://www.instagram.com/baby_mine_birth/

https://www.facebook.com/BabyMineBirthServices



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