The benefits of having a doula

Medical studies prove it: Doulas make births safer and easier. The positive effects of having a doula have been studied more fully than the effects of having an epidural.
Births with doulas showed decreases in:

  • Cesarean birth by 51%
  • Pitocin use by 71%
  • Narcotics use by 35%
  • Forceps use by 57%
  • Length of labor by 98 minutes

Even among the best-educated and best-supported women inĀ North America, the latest studies show that having a Doula decreases:

  • Cesarean birth by 21%
  • Forceps/vacuum extraction use by 32%
  • Epidural use by 16%

Eleven studies showed the following effects of doula support:
Effects on labor:
Labors are shorter.
There are fewer complications.
The number of cesarean births is reduced.
There is less need for Pitocin to speed up labor.
Use of forceps is reduced.
Women request less pain medication and epidurals.
Effects on the mother:
Greater satisfaction with childbirth
More positive assessments of their babies
Less postpartum depression
Effects on the baby:
Babies have shorter hospital stays and fewer admissions to special care nurseries.
Babies breastfeed more successfully.
Mothers are more affectionate toward their babies postpartum.
Effects on the health care system:
The cost of obstetrical care is dramatically reduced.
Women are pleased with the personalized care doulas offer.
The benefit of continuous support in labor is recognized by:
The World Health Organization
The Medical Leadership Council (an organization of over 1200 U.S. hospitals)
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada

By Teresa Bailey

Teresa Bailey is a master doula in Pittsburgh

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