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Why Doula Care?

Wait, what exactly is a doula?

doula (from the ancient Greek word meaning “female servant”): a doula is a woman who is experienced with childbirth and trained to provide physical and emotional support, information, reassurance, and guidance to a laboring woman and her partner. Doula care is appropriate and helpful in any birth setting including hospital, birth center, or home.

Ok, so why hire a doula?

Recent studies have shown the clear benefits of continuous doula care in labor.

  • Labors are 25% shorter.
  • There are fewer complications.
  • Cesarean rates are reduced by 50%.
  • There is 40% less need for medication to speed up labor.
  • Need for forceps is reduced by 40%.
  • Women request 30% less pain medication and 60% fewer epidurals.
  • Women and their partners report higher levels of satisfaction with their birth experiences.

A press release put out by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) in 2014 stated:

“Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula. A Cochrane meta-analysis of 12 trials and more than 15,000 women demonstrated that the presence of continuous one-on-one support during labor and delivery was associated with improved patient satisfaction and a statistically significant reduction in the rate of cesarean delivery (111). Given that there are no associated measurable harms, this resource is probably underutilized.”

“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”

- John H. Kennell, M.D.