PROFESSIONAL LABOR SUPPORT
On the average during an 8 hour shift a nurse will spend about 15 minutes offering physical comfort measures, provide emotional support, or advocate for her patients. Nursing staff are criticized during their reviews for spending too much time with patients if they DO take more time with laboring mothers.
Odds are better with a midwife. But often hospital based midwives have time constraints. You are going to do best with the support of a professional such as a Monitrice or Doula.
There are two different types of Doulas. A Labor Doula, who will be with you through the pregnancy, meeting with you several times, supporting you while you are in labor (if you so choose), and the first few hours after the baby is born.
There is a Post-Partum Doula, that will work with you and baby for a period of time after the baby is born.
Doulas do not “catch” babies. They will support you in labor and through delivery if you choose to have a Doula.
• Lessens problems with babies born in poor condition, babies are less often admitted into special-care nurseries, the hospital stay is shorter in duration, nor are they likely to have infections.
• Women are shown to have less pain and anxiety during labor, cope better with labor, less likely to have lowered numbers of episiotomies, the use of IV Pitocin is lowered, the use of instruments during delivery is lowered and best of all: C-section rates are lower. The length of the labor is shorter.
• Breastfeeding past the 6 week mark is higher when a Doula is utilized for support.
• Also women who have had Doula support have more positive feelings towards the new baby, a better relationship with the father, and lowered postpartum depression.
A BIRTH DOULA:
• Can accompany you when you go to the doctor the first time.
• Visit with you a few times during pregnancy to:
o Assess your nutritional needs and help you stay healthy through your pregnancy.
o Assist you with good posture and exercises that will keep you strong and help in having an easier delivery.
o Before the time of labor and delivery, discuss your options and help you write up a Birth Plan.
• During labor: assist with pain measures, advocate in your behalf with hospital staff (when necessary), help coach your labor partner during labor, etc.
• Afterwards, will assist you in breastfeeding and baby care (first couple hours after delivery).
• Make a visit Post-Partum to see how you are doing, and assist where necessary.
• Do not “catch” the baby.
POST PARTUM DOULA:
Generally, they offer some or all of the following:
• Breastfeeding Support
• Mother Care Support
• Cooking meals
• Caring for infant while mother bathes, eats, etc..
Some also offer:
• Other childcare (not directly caring for newborn)
NEXT WEEK: The Childbirth Educator