I'm loving this article from Fatima Bheekoo-Shah in OnIslam.net on 10 Reasons Why You Need a Doula at Your Next Labor. Here's a snippet:
Labor and birth can be a daunting experience for most women whether it is a first time experience or even a third baby delivery. While giving birth is a natural process, most women are unaware of their capabilities and level of strength during labor.
A doula is a well-trained professional who provides continuous support at labor to remind you of your capabilities and help you have a better birth outcome. A better birth outcome means you are able to cope with the stressful demands of motherhood. The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek language meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to experienced professional person who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to mothers before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Here are ten reasons why you need a doula at your childbirth, although it does not replace a doctor or a midwife.
Science says we need doulas
Scientific evidence shows that doulas prove to be a major asset in modern labor. The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent non-profit organization specializing in evidence based medical research released a report at late October 2012 on the effect of continuous support for women during childbirth, which produced interesting results. Research by the organization, involving twenty-two trials on 15,288 women, showed that where doulas were present:
- Labor time was reduced
- More likely to give birth ‘spontaneously’
- Fewer incidents for the need for a vacuum, forceps and a Caesarean were reported
- The need for epidurals and pain killers was reduced
- Mothers appeared more satisfied with their birth experiences than those who hadn’t had doulas present
A doula can help you understand your options in birth and formulate a birth plan to discuss with your midwife or doctor. Krystina Friedlander, a doula from Cambridge, USA believes that while birth itself can be a little overwhelming, it can be easy to lose sight sometimes of your preferences you have detailed out in a birth plan. A doula will help you communicate to your doctor or midwife during labor, and gently remind them of your choices.
Keen! Here's the full article. I particularly love the references to the use of dhikr in labor, which is so grounding and relaxing.