Your birth is one of the most intimate and transformative experiences. You may be wondering why you might even hire a doula. As you learn about doulas you may come across some pretty amazing statistics about how the presence of a doula can positively impact your labor. The Cochrane Library, 2011, Issue 2, published a review entitled Continuous Support For Women During Childbirth. The review analyzed 21 studies and found that women who received continuous support were less likely than women who did not to:
- have regional analgesia
- have any analgesia/anesthesia
- give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
- give birth by cesarean
- have a baby with a low 5-minute Apgar score
- report dissatisfaction or a negative rating of their experience
Full analysis of the review can be found here and a discussion of the analysis can be found here. This is great news for families and doulas, however, no one can guarantee an outcome. I believe the more important research findings about doulas and continuous labor support pertain to your experience of labor.
Have you found that people feel compelled to tell you birth horror stories? I believe that one reason this happens is that families are trying to make sense of their own birth experience or fears. Families who have had doula assistance at their birth likely share a different kind of story. Regardless of the details of their birth, you’ll probably find these parents saying they had a great experience; they felt heard, supported, accomplished, satisfied and confident in their choices. What a wonderful way to begin the parenting journey!