Not everyone knows what a doula is. Let us break it down for you. A doula (pronounced doo-lah) is a Greek word for a woman who helps women. She lends support to women and their families. She also provides information and encouragement through pregnancy, labor and birth. Notably, a doula is not trained to actually deliver your baby.
In the United States, a very small portion of births are overseen by doulas. Some guestimates are as low as 1%. These numbers, however, are increasing due to more and more evidence of the benefits.
Here are some statistics. A scientific study found that with continuous support of a trained doula, epidural use decreased by 60%. The number of C-sections dropped 50%, oxytocin use decreased 40%, forceps use decreased by 40%, and the average length of labor decreased by 25%.
There are postpartum advantages as well. Mothers who have the support of a doula breastfeed more successfully than new moms without a doula. There is also evidence that doulas help decrease anxiety and depression after pregnancy. To learn more check out Fit Pregnancy’s doula info.
Have any of you had any experience using a doula? We’d love to hear!