To Doula or Not to Doula?
That is the question.
Benefits of having a Doula from a RN
As a former Labor and Delivery Nurse, it was my honor and privilege to be the nurse at your side helping you as you labor and deliver. It was my joy to be the one to breathe with you and help you summon your strength and push to delivery. However, there are times when Labor and Delivery would take a turn; and as the Nurse I had to spring into action to help you and baby-stay healthy ,alive, and safe. During that time, I would keep you informed but would also multitask.
A Doula is not medical and therefore , the focus will not be on the medical aspect of delivery. The Doula’s priority is to remain at your side, be your advocate and support you during Labor and Delivery. Basically, a Doula will be all about you. This collaboration of care by the Nurses, Doctors and Doula offers more resources to keep mom happy, stress free and promote a healthy outcome. I for one will always promote: Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby.
However, first thing first? You may have heard about Doula’s and wonder exactly who and what is a Doula?
A Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible (DONA International,2017).
A Doula is not a Registered Nurse/Midwife or Doctor (but can be). A Doula’s main focus is not deliver your baby or medically take care of you ; but to provide support, care and be your advocate during pregnancy/labor and delivery and postpartum.
A Doula and Midwife are not the same. A Midwife is a certified, license practitioner who provides care and delivers your baby. (More on Midwifery on another blog post). While a Doula does not have to be licensed, but many are certified through organizations such as DONA International,2017; and Doulas do not deliver your baby.
Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery and Postpartum are one of the most miraculous seasons of your life; as you grow a life. A Doula is someone who can offer support and help you navigate the journey of these phases.
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), 2014 states one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel. A doula is one who can provide such support (DONA International, 2017).
To Doula or Not to Doula….is the Question
This decision is a personal one for you and your family to decide. I encourage you to speak with your family and doctor on their thoughts regarding having a Doula with you in the delivery room.
6 Benefits of having a Doula from a RN View:
- A Doula is NOT medical and does not offer medical advice or tell you to not follow medical advice. A Doula will work with your Nurse and Doctor to provide you with the best birthing experience.
- A Doula is committed to you for the duration of your labor and will not leave for “shift change”. You are their only “patient”
- A Doula will make it about you and your partner- she will support you and your family. A Doula do not take the place of your partner or family, but will work with them.
- A Doula can help you have the birth you envision and if there is an emergency, the Doula can keep you informed, stay by your side and help you understand what is happening.
- A Doula is like your coach in a big game- along with your Nurse; your Doula will cheer you to the end and celebrate in your victory.
- Pre-delivery- your Doula will get to know you and help you understand what to expect for each stage of your pregnancy.
“Women with Doula support have lower odds of nonindicated cesareans than those who did not have doula as well as those who desired but did not have doula support. Increasing awareness of doula care and access to support from a Doula may facilitate decreases in non-indicated cesarean rates”
(Am J Manag Care.2014;20(6):e340-e352)
To Doula or Not to Doula? Is a question you may encounter during your journey of pregnancy. The choice is yours and whatever decision you make is the right one. The goal is to reach the end of your journey as a Healthy Mom with a Healthy Baby.
Mary E., RN,BSN, MSN
Wife/Mother/Nurse/Champion of All Pregnant Women
Safe prevention of the primary cesarean delivery. Obstetric Care Consensus No.1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2014; 123: 693-711. Found on http://www.acog.org/~/media/Obstetric%20Care%20Consensus%20Series/oc001.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20140220T0709497934
Hunter,L.P.(2016). The Womb Whisperers: Why More More Pregnant Women Are Hiring Doulas. Essence, November 22,2016. Found: www.essence.com. www. amp.timeinc.net
Kozhimannil,K.B.Phd.,Attanasio,L.B.,BA.,Jou,J.,MPH;Joarnt,L.K.,Johnson,P.J.,Phd.,Gjerdingen,D.K.,MD.(2014). Potential Benefits of Increased Access to Doula Support During Childbirth. American Journal of Managed Care. Published Online: August 28,2014. Found online: www.ajmc.com