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.  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!