What are the benefits of having a doula?

Following on from my last post about the different types of doulas (which you can find here), today I’d love to talk about the benefits of having a doula.

Numerous studies have documented the benefits of having a doula present during labour:

Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth - Cochrane Review, found a very high number of positive birth outcomes when a doula was present. With the support of a doula, mothers were less likely to have pain-relief medications administered and less likely to have a cesarean birth. They also reported having a more positive childbirth experience which is probably the best bit.

Additional studies have shown that having a doula as part of your birth team:

  • Decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%

  • Decreases the length of labour by 25%

  • Decreases the use of synthetic oxytocin by 40%

  • And, decreases the requests for an epidural by 60%

One particularly amazing benefit of having a doula, in my opinion, is: glorious, natural oxytocin...

Doulas like me often use the power of touch and massage to reduce stress and anxiety during labour and according to physicians Marshal Klaus and John Kennell, this touch and massage helps stimulate the production of natural oxytocin. How?

Well, the pituitary gland secretes natural oxytocin to the bloodstream which causes uterine contractions, and to the brain which results in feelings of well-being and drowsiness, along with a higher pain threshold.

In the past it was thought that intravenous oxytocin didn’t cross from the bloodstream into the brain in substantial amounts and, therefore, didn’t provide the same psychological benefits as natural oxytocin.

However, more recent studies indicate that oxytocin administered nasally and/or intravenously may cross from the bloodstream into the brain. BUT... doulas can help mothers  to experience the benefits of oxytocin naturally without the use of medication.

If you’d like to learn more the benefits of having a doula just contact me today.