"Because the woman may remember her caregiver forever, the question, “How will she remember this?” should be in the caregiver’s mind at all times. It will lead to kind and considerate actions, empowering and complimentary words, and consideration of her desires and needs during childbirth." - Penny Simkin
What is a birth doula?
In ancient Greece the word doula meant "A woman who serves". Today it is used to describe a person who provides physical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy, labor, and the immediate postpartum period. As a birth doula, I will be there throughout your labor and delivery to offer consistent, compassionate, and non-judgemental support, whatever that looks like for you and your partner. Among other things, this includes encouragement, reassurance, comfort measures such as breathing and massage, and assistance in gathering information about the course of your labor and your options. This is your birth, and you and your partner set the tone; my job as a doula is to listen and my goal is help you and your partner have a safe and satisfying childbirth as you define it for yourselves.
Continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants. In 2013, Cochrane published a report on Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth which shows that women who received continuous labour support were more likely to:
- Give birth 'spontaneously'
- Avoid Caesarean birth
- Deliver without vacuum extraction
- Deliver without the use of forceps
- Labor without pain medications
- Feel satisfied with their labours
- Have shorter labours
- Deliver babies with reduced rates of low Apgar scores.
"Labor can be short, long, easy, hard, early or late...the variations are infinite and nature writes the script. While you can't predict the path of your baby's birth, you can stack the deck in favor of having a satisfying experience:Remain open to all possibilities of how labor might unfold; Prepare your body and mind for the hard work of labor and becoming a parent; Gather close around you those you love; and ... Always have continuous support!"
- Kim James