‘Doula' is another one of those words, a but like 'hypnobirthing' that sounds a bit weird until you know what it really means! And (unless you're a big Gilmore Girls fan like me) you may not have come across doulas before.
So what is a doula?
Doulas nurture and support women either throughout labour and birth or in the postnatal period (or both!). As a non medical professional they are there to provide you with support (be that practical, physical, emotional, information providing or as your advocate), no matter what decisions you make or how you give birth. Doulas, just like the rest of us, come from ALL walks of life! It's simply about finding someone you connect with, who you feel able to welcome into your birthing space.
Now, if you you've been using the resources at Positively Birthing online for longer than, I don’t know, a day (!!) you'll know what I really like to know is what the research says! So here goes...
A Cochrane review into continuous support from a woman in labour showed women were..
More likely to have spontaneous vaginal births
Less likely to have any pain medication including epidurals
Less likely to have negative feelings about childbirth
Less likely to have instrumental births, and Cesareans
Likely to have a shorter labour by approx 40 minutes.
Less likely to suffer from postnatal despression.
There is NO evidence that having continuous support in labour has any negative outcomes. NONE!
YIKES! So why don't we all have one? Well, I’ve put your questions to some amazing Doulas so you can work out if it sounds like something you might like to consider.