Thoughts on doulas? What immediately springs to mind when someone talks to you about doulas?
I did a quick search on google… doulas are…. “stupid”, “annoying”, “useless”, “dangerous”, “unnecessary”, “idiots”, “dumb”…. do it… start typing “doulas are” and see what appears on your suggested list of search terms – there is nothing positive.
I know I used to think doulas were hippies who only supported home water births. That was certainly my perception of them. That the looked a certain way, did certain things. Wore harem pants, long dreadlocks, burned incense all day, wore crystals, did yoga all day long and were all vegan. There’s nothing wrong with those thing – some of them are things I enjoy – but many of us are changing. And the doula landscape is changing massively and a very fast pace. There’s so many perceptions of us that are totally wrong and misinformed.
I wasn’t shocked really recently to hear from a local client when she told her community midwife she was considering a doula, was told… “oh they don’t like doulas up in the labour ward”… mmmmmm – thanks!!! Not helpful for positive working relationships. And I’m 100% sure not unique to Edinburgh.
I’m absolutely not surprised though that this is perception of us in some senses. Why? We challenge the status quo – we ask questions, we challenge cultural and stereotypical beliefs and we are hugely passionate about honouring the importance of birth and motherhood.
If you look at the RECENT EVIDENCE produced this year, there’s a massive list about all the positives about hiring a doula for your birth. In fact, they couldn’t find a negative thing to say about doulas. Not one.
- Increased likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth (12% increase)
- Decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery (14% reduction)
- Reduced risk of Caesarean birth (28% less caesareans)
- Reduced risk of instrumental birth
- Reduced need for painkillers or epidural during birth (9% reduction in use of ANY pain relief)
- Reduced rate of induction of labour (31% less women use syntonocinon)
- Shorter labour time
- Increased parental satisfaction with the birth experience
- Increased likelihood of initiating breastfeeding
- Increased likelihood of successfully establishing breastfeeding & breastfeeding at 6 weeks
I’ve also listed all the non-researched benefits on my doula page.
It would be lovely if the dialogue were to change and women were supported and encouraged to use doulas. The evidence is there. Women’s experiences are majorly very positive. In fact, in many parts across the world Doulas are common because the value is so realised. In London they are hugely popular and an accepted normal part of birth. And let’s face it – surely if a women has a doula – the workload is vastly reduced for a midwife?
Like ever service, there might always be times be when there are issues. But let’s address that maternity services are extremely stretched and it’s aren’t flawless either – I see a steady stream of women coming for birth trauma recovery most weeks….
Doulas are women (generally) who will do whatever they can to ensure that you have a better birth. If you’re keen to have the best birth possible, get a doula.
I wish I had absolutely had a doula with me, especially when I was going for my VBAC. I honestly believe it would have been a completely different outcome not only for birth, but my experience as a mum. It would have been the most worthwhile investment.
So let’s change google… let’s change what public perceptions are… what health care professionals say…. Doulas Rock, Doulas ARE AMAZING, doulas are WONDERFUL, doulas will HELP YOUR BIRTH, doulas are PASSIONATE, doulas are EMPATHETIC, doulas will make you FEEL AMAZING, doulas will support YOUR CHOICES – the evidence is so STRONGLY there.
If you’d like to know more about how I can support you as a doula, click here. If you’d like my support in preparing you for birth click here for one to one support or here for the Birth and Baby Academy. If you’d like support with your last birth, click here.
Much love, Tricia xxx