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WHAT IS A DOULA?


by Dr. Naeema Olatunji | Jun 23, 2018 | Babies, Prenatal |


At Elevate, we LOVE our bellies and babies! As a Chiropractor that specializes in Prenatal and Pediatric care we believe in building long lasting relationships based off trust. We built a birth network of local trusted providers in order to confidently refer when support is necessary to our families.

A birth support team can include but is not limited to an OB/GYN or Midwife for prenatal and delivery care, a pediatrician for baby wellness , a lactation specialist  for supporting breastfeeding and a Doula.

But what exactly is a Doula?

A Doula can be an integral part of mom’s birth journey. At EFC, we highly encourage completing your birth support team with a Doula.


Doulas of North America (DONA International) is an organization founded in 1992 by pioneers who wanted to rediscover the essential ingredient of support in labor and post-partum. Since then, DONA has been setting the gold standard for the highest quality perinatal support for birthing mothers and their families.

Let’s begin by defining what 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.


Doulas nurture and support the birthing family throughout labor and birth.

Their primary role is to provide continuous labor support to the birthing family, no matter what decisions the mother makes or how she gives birth. The doula’s role is tied solely to the birthing family’s needs & agenda. In other words, a doula’s primary responsibility is to them—not to a hospital administrator, nurse, midwife, or doctor.


DOULAS PROVIDE A WIDE ARRAY OF SUPPORT TO THE BIRTHING PERSON INCLUDING:

  • Physical Support
  • Emotional Support
  • Partner Support
  • Evidence-Based Information and Advocacy

If you are thinking: Ok, now I know everything a Doula does, but WHY do I need one when I have a really great supportive birth partner? Put simply, when the World Health Organization and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree wholeheartedly you really want to take heed. Need even more reasons? How about some good ol’ research?

Several studies show that a doula’s continuous support, practical knowledge, and labor enhancing techniques help to reduce pain and anxiety in laboring women. When a laboring woman is less frightened and feels less pain, her labor is more likely to progress without the need for interventions.

Research shows that a doula’s presence during labor and birth results in the following positive outcomes:

BENEFITS OF DOULAS

  • reduction in the rate of cesareans
  • reduction in epidural requests
  • reduction in the use of Pitocin (a contraction induction method)
  • shorter labors
  • an increase in successful breastfeeding and bonding
  • a reduction in “baby blues” and postpartum depression

But what about the family? The research has that covered as well.  

Postpartum doula care results in the following positive outcomes for families:

  • parents feel more secure and cared for
  • more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
  • greater success with breastfeeding
  • greater self-confidence
  • less postpartum depression

Bottom line: a doula is an advocate, support partner, educator, and provider of physical and emotional support throughout your pregnancy and beyond.


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