Doula – support in labour
Doulas help support mothers in labour and delivery. This makes wonderful difference to the mother and the baby – find one near you!
Jill Bergman provides doula services in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. She is registered with WOMBS in South Africa, and provides doula care according to international standards.
In South Africa, contact WOMBS – Women Offering Mothers Birth Support .
The doula makes a wonderful difference to the experience of birth for the mother, and has profound clinical benefits for mother and the fetus / baby. The following was extracted from the WOMBS website…
What is a Doula?
A Doula is a Greek word meaning “woman who helps women”. In South Africa Doulas are also known as Childbirth Companions.
These are women who offer continual emotional and physical support to labouring woman (and her partner) in the form of comfort, reassurance and gentle touch. Doulas usually stay with the mother throughout labour, constantly assessing and responding to her needs. A Doula may assist the new family at home.
Doulas are becoming increasingly visible and important in our labour wards because of the positive effect that they are having on all who are involved in the birth process. Every woman ought to have a positive and memorable birth experience. Having a Doula with you during your labour and birth will help you have the birth experience you deserve. Doulas can make a difference for you in your birth experience.
Studies have documented that a Doula’s touch and support leads to reduced pain – or, at the very least, the mother’s perception of reduced pain.
A worldwide study, involving more than 1500 women, found that mother’s who received Doula support were the ones with the shortest labours. Other benefits found in this study by Klaus et al. include:
- Greater than 50% drop in caesarean births.
- 30% reduction in the mother’s need for medication.
- 60% reduction in epidural requests.
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery.
- Recognizes childbirth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life.
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labour.
- Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman gain access to the information she needs to make good decisions.
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and the medical care providers.
- Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of her birth experience.
The benefits of Doula support do not end after the labour and birth. Worldwide research shows:
- Better attachment and bonding between mother and baby.
- Reduced need for medical intervention.
- Reduced incidence of post partum depression.
- Improved mother and baby well-being.
- Positive feelings about labour and birth.