I would like to Thank You for your interest in Midwifery and Labor Support Services. Having a Midwife or Doula attend your birth is one step closer to ensuring you have the birth you, your baby and your partner deserve :)
Picture by Tonyea M. Derwart Blickenstaff.
A labor doula is a specialist that supports a woman and her family before labor, during labor, birth, and throughout the postpartum period. They ease the transition from home to the hospital environment. The doula is there for the entire period, through hospital shift change and physician rotations.The doula can serve as an advocate for birth options, labor coach, or just an extra set of hands. They give you and your partner the added and much needed comfort and additional support throughout the entire labor and birth of your baby.
The Doula will meet with you and your partner a few times before labor, and these appointments start around 32 weeks or before. This is how they get to know you, and your partner and you both become comfortable with them. The doula will go over your birth plan in detail and answer any questions or talk about any concerns that you may have at the time.
At each of these appointments the doula will want to go over labor breathing techniques, relaxation and some basic visualization techniques. This allows you and your partner to practice the techniques that will be used in labor and birth before hand.
Doulas use a wide range of techniques to help the woman stay calm, relaxed and focused. During labor the doula will use a wide range of positions to work with your body, your pelvis type and the baby as it descends down the birth canal. Some of the tools used are the birth ball, hot and cold packs or a rice sock, birthing stools, oils, candles, as well as hydrotherapy, aromatherapy and light touch techniques.
Most Doulas work in all environments: home, birth center and hospital births. Doulas are specifically trained to help mom and dad make a safe and effective transition from your home to the hospital and not skip a beat in between.
How can a Doula benefit you in labor and postpartum?
Many studies have been done over the years and the verdict is in, it is a fact that Doulas do help in labor, birth, and postpartum. Here are some of the statistics that have been done:
*C-section's are reduced by 50%
*Length of labor is reduced by 25%
*Oxytocin use is reduced by 40%
*Use of potentially harmful narcotics reduced by 30%
*Forceps reduced by 30%
*Epidurals reduced by 60%
The long-term benifits are:
*Increased time spend with baby
*A big decrease in postpartum depression.
Why should you have a doula attend your birth?
This is an easy question, if all of the information provided hasn't been enough to convince you, then think about this. People spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on their weddings so that it is perfect in every way and everything they ever wanted or dreamed of. Few people dream about their birth or have an idea what their birth should be like. Some don't have a realistic view of what labor and birth really is and many people don't know that they have CHOICES. Having the extra support of a Doula will ensure your birth will be one of the most memorable events in your life.
National and Global Birth Trends
Throughout the industrialized world countries recognize midwifery care as a superior way of birthing. In fact, the countries with the lowest infant mortality rates are those where over 70% of the births are attended by midwives, the majority of these at home or in free-standing birth centers.
The World Health Organization and the American Public health Association both endorse out of hospital birth with a trained midwife as a reasonable alternative to the high tech/high cost births found in U.S. Hospitals. A shocking fact is that the U.S. Spends more on health care than any other nation in the world yet we rank only 41st in newborn mortality. In 40 other countries babies have a greater likelihood of surviving their first year of life.These countries include Cuba, Portugal, Malaysia and the U.K.
In 2005 the British Medical Journal published the MANA 2000 study, the first ever large-scale prospective study of the safety of homebirth in North America. This study illustrates that homebirth with a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is as safe as a low-risk hospital birth. The cesarean section rate for attended homebirths in 2000 was 3.7% vs 19.1% for intended hospital births. This has climbed dramatically in recent years.
Additionally, the rates ofinterventions were consistently half that of hospitals. Most importantly there were no fewer babies dying or injured in hospital than at home. The satisfaction of homebirth women vs hospital birth women was significantly higher with 97% of women reporting satisfaction with their homebirths. Currently the U.S. c-section rate is over 32.8%. Despite the rising number of babies born by c-section, we have not lowered our neonatal mortality rate.
Perhaps even more alarming, is the fact that despite spending $98 billion dollars on hospitalization of women for childbearing, the U.S. has doubled its maternal mortality rate in the past 25 years. Currently the U.S. ranks 50th in maternal mortality. In 49 other countries women have a greater likelihood of surviving childbirth. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a 10 -15% c-section rate as necessary. In the U.S. CPMs report a 4- 10 %
How can unwanted interventions happen?
At home, birth is allowed to unfold as nature intended. Because a woman feels safe in her home and is not disturbed by unfamiliar hospital staff and procedures, the hormones of labor are fully capable of moving her labor along. When a woman is exposed to bright lights, unnecessary activity and strangers performing intimate exams, the release of both oxytocin and endorphins are inhibited by the overproduction of stress hormones. This slows the progress of labor and intensifies the feelings of pain. It is not uncommon for a woman's contractions to slow upon arrival at the hospital. This may lead to augmentation with pitocin, a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin which causes contractions. Pitocin has been associated with poor fetal heart rates possibly due to the strength and frequency of the contractions it causes. This apparent stress on the baby often leads to a c-section. Furthermore, the intensity of pitocin-induced contractions leaves the majority of women seeking an epidural. Epidurals are associated with maternal fever, and poor fetal heart rates which again leads to many more c-sections.
Midwife means with woman
Midwives are dedicated to spending time with women, providing the space women need to explore their strengths and fears, answer their questions, and build strong relationships. Midwives are patient, allowing labor and birth to proceed naturally. There are no strict timelines on your labor. Likewise midwives are more comfortable with pregnancies that endure past their due dates. Inductions for being late are very rare. Midwives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This ensures that women are able to get their needs met in a timely fashion, often without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
How can a Home birth Benefit You?
In choosing a midwife for your homebirth you are avoiding any unnecessary interventions and the complications they often lead to. While at times it becomes prudent to transport to the hospital from home, and even benefit from some of the above named interventions, this occurs in 10-15% of all planned homebirths. Most importantly, the decision to intervene is made in conjunction with the laboring woman and her partner. Full explanation of the benefits and risks of any intervention are given, allowing women to be consent. When birthing at home women take full responsibility for their own excellent health care, hiring a midwife to guide and support the process while ensuring the safety of both mom and baby. When time-sensitive emergent action is needed, the solid relationship and trust that exist between mother and midwife allow for swift, decisive care.
Some helpful websites for more information: