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Benefits of Doula Care

Nearly 1 in 3 babies in the U.S. is born by cesarean, which is 2 to 3 times higher than the rate the World Health Organization believes is optimal. Medically unnecessary cesareans can lead to increased rates of childbirth related complications. Doula care is an evidence-based strategy that has been found to reduce first and repeat cesareans.

Doulas are well-positioned to help low-income and minority communities improve their outcomes. Support from a doula has been shown to improve health outcomes, boost care engagement and satisfaction, and minimize spending on unneeded procedures and problems.

Consistent, high-quality research backs up the benefits of doula care. Since 1995, the favorable effects of continuous labor support have been reported in Cochrane systematic studies. [7] The most current analysis, published in 2017, looked at data from 26 different research including over 15,000 women. The study discovered a slew of advantages to continuous labor assistance, as well as no known drawbacks, including:

• 39% reduction in the likelihood of cesarean births

• 15% greater likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth

• 10% reduction in the use of pain medications

• Shorter labor by an average of 41 minutes

• 31% reduction in reporting a negative birth experience

All of this is backed up by science. Shorter labors, lower pain medication use, increased possibility of spontaneous vaginal birth, lower risk of C-section, and improved Apgar scores for the infant are all benefits of having a doula by one's side (learn more in this Evidence Based Birth Review). However, one of the most beneficial benefits is also one of the most subjective: persons who give birth with a doula are more likely to have a pleasant experience. And because birth is a life-changing experience that people remember for the rest of their lives, there are numerous reasons to preserve its memories.

Having a skilled birth coach at your side can improve your entire experience, whether you're striving for a physiologic delivery ("unmedicated"), you know you want an epidural, or you're planning a C-section.

So, now that you are convinced, How do you go about finding a doula?

DONA (an international doula certifying organization), is an excellent resource.

Because labor support is not a regulated or licensed profession, doulas can choose to get certified, but certification is not required to practice (and in fact, attending births is part of the certification process). I recommend that you evaluate doulas based on their education, experience, passion, and personality. Choose a handful whose websites or internet presence appeals to you and conduct a few interviews with them.

I'll be honest: I don't expect to be employed by every family who contacts me for an interview. I believe that a doula cannot be an effective support person unless there is a strong emotional connection, thus I advise everyone to hunt for that perfect match. I vow that if a possible customer does not choose me, I will not be offended. I want us to be successful together. And I believe most doulas would agree with me on this!

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