A Look Into the Science-Backed Benefits of Doulas

Ever considered using a doula to help you through labor and delivery?

There are so many benefits of doulas, and it’s not just for moral support.  Science has proven that having the support of a doula through labor, delivery and in the postpartum period can lead to better health for mom and baby.  For most women, the process of giving birth can be extremely frightening and stressful and a doula can ease some of that stress.  Having someone in your corner that will put your needs first is something all moms can benefit from. 

Neve from WeTheParents was gracious enough to share some of her research about the science backed benefits of doulas, as well as a handy infographic (don’t forget to PIN it!)You can check out the full post here.

Benefits of Doulas
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may be in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Let’s be truthful here, giving birth is no easy task. It’s called labor for a reason. First-time mothers experience it on even another level due to the fear of the unknown. To the dismay of many moms-to-be, the medical community took a natural process and made it into a sterile procedure to be feared. The birthing mom was isolated in a stark, cold room to give birth in an unnatural position, separated from loved ones, and without support. Fortunately, the medical community has finally begun to come around to what works for a new mom and her baby.

The scientific community began to realize that perhaps the ways of modern medicine did not work well for the most natural process on our planet, and that is giving birth. After many compelling studies, scientists discovered that stress-free labor had many benefits to both the mother and infant. They found that doulas played a significant role in providing a stress-free environment, aiding in an uncomplicated birth.

Postpartum Doula
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Mothers who received doula support during labor and the birthing process experienced less pain as well as a shorter labor duration. This was a result of the confidence they felt in their abilities, knowing that they had the full emotional and physical support of a doula by their side. In addition to this, they also had fewer incidents of cesareans, epidurals, and the use of invasive birthing instruments.

A mother who experiences stress-free labor without invasive intervention due to the support of a doula will also have a stronger bonding connection with her newborn. Both mother and child come together in the world for the first time in a positive atmosphere. Studies have not only shown that this type of birth increases positive mother-infant interaction but also boosts early breastfeeding scores.

Scientific studies have forced the medical community to realize that there are so many benefits of doulas for a laboring mother that it can no longer be ignored.

Here are 17 evidence-based benefits, including infants with higher Apgar scores, reduced postpartum depression, and fewer birth complications.

Doula Infographic
wetheparents.org

Author Bio:

Neve is a pragmatic and encouraging natural birth advocate. She loves science and hates dogma, and she tries hard to empower women with information while steering clear of criticism and judgment. A mother of three, Neve is also chief researcher and editor at WeTheParents. You can catch her on Twitter and Facebook.


While it’s great that science is able to prove the benefits of doulas, it’s also just plain common sense.  Even if you have a supportive spouse or friend with you, it doesn’t often compare to the experience of a trained doula.  Having someone who is completely devoted to your care and well being during one of the most intense moments of your life is a luxury that all mothers should have access to.

Have you used a doula for your labor and delivery?  We’d love to hear more about your experience.  Feel free to contact us or leave a comment! 

Interview with a Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula is a newer trend in postpartum care but offers many benefits for new mothers.

The term doula seems to be synonymous with labor and childbirth.  But what many mothers don’t realize is that the first few months in the postpartum period can be even tougher than childbirth itself.  These are the times when mothers need the most support.  A postpartum doula is not just for first time mothers either.  Those with other children at home often need even MORE support to get the rest they so desperately need.

Having help in the first few months after having a baby can greatly reduce the risk of mothers developing postpartum depression.

In an effort to learn more about what a postpartum doula does, I interviewed Lenamarie Gorski, a birth and postpartum doula from Birth With a Voice Doula Service and fellow postpartum depression survivor.  
Postpartum Doula
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Interview with A Postpartum Doula

1. What is a doula?

A doula is a person that assists a woman in labor. We support the women emotionally, spiritually and through the pain. A doula also assists women in the postpartum period because “it takes a village” to care for a newborn.

2. What is the difference between a birth doula and a postpartum doula?

A birth doula usually ends after the birth.  There is typically one follow up appointment but then the contract ends. The focus is on the birth, pain management and supporting the birthing mom and her partner.

A postpartum doula is strictly for the period after the birth. The focus is on helping with caring for the infant AND mom! I personally try to keep life as normal as possible during my time with a client.

Precipitous Labor
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3. What kind of training do postpartum doulas have?

We typically do workshops. You also are trained in infant CPR as well as breastfeeding for help with the new mom. Certification follows up after the training with work to complete from the accrediting company.

4. What tasks does a postpartum doula do?

A postpartum doula typically does light housework, laundry, preps meals and helps with the infant care as well as breastfeeding. Sometimes we go shopping for the client, anything to keep life moving while the new mom is recovering and adjusting to life with a newborn.

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5. What type of shifts does a postpartum doula work?

It really depends on the client. The typical shift is nighttime form 7pm-7am. I have had clients change me from night to day as the baby grew/slept longer at night. I sometimes help them until they can find a nanny (I also have trained nannies to the everyday happenings in the home) or it is time for the baby to start daycare.

6. How many months after birth does a postpartum doula provide service for?

Its typically 12 weeks but we can be there up to 6 months with a client depending on the baby’s sleep patterns. The four month sleep regression can sometimes have clients call us back since it can be rough, especially for two parents expected to be at work or when there are older children in the home.

How to Start Sleep Training The Moment You Bring Baby Home
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7. Approximately how much does a postpartum doula cost?

It varies. It can be anywhere from $20.00 an hour to $45.00 an hour. You just need to shop around.

8. Are doula services ever covered by private health insurance?

Currently, no. Unfortunately, this has not yet caught on. In NYC they are going to be covering birth doulas with insurance so I’m hoping this is the beginning of an important trend. However, you can always try! You can submit the bill of the doula to your insurance company and see if they will reimburse.

9. What is the best way to find a postpartum doula where I live?

DoulaMatch.net is a great way! Also, word of mouth! Postpartum, birth groups of your area on Facebook or going to a local birth center. Also, Facebook! You can search “doulas” and Facebook pages of local doulas should come up.

Benefits of Doulas
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10. How can a postpartum doula help a mother with postpartum depression?

Doulas are not medical professionals but we have resources for moms with PPD. We also help them by listening and supporting them through that time to tell them that they are not alone! Whenever I start with a client I always share my story of PPD, to tell them that I am a safe place and I am not here to judge the. Motherhood is hard, sometimes you just need a safe and understanding place to go to and often times doulas provide that safe place.

Any additional information you would like to provide about postpartum doulas?

A postpartum doula is not a nanny, we often get confused by that. We are infant specialists; this covers swaddling, sleeping, nursing, bottle feeding, etc. We are a valuable resource for moms and I really encourage everyone to spread the word and get some help in the postpartum period.


Birth With a Voice

Lenamarie Gorski is a birth/postpartum doula and mother of five from Philadelphia, PA. Before finding her passion as a doula, she finished her degree in biology with a minor in chemistry, while raising her first two children. Feeling like she was pushed into c-sections, as well as her struggle with postpartum depression, encouraged her to begin her training to help other women.

“When you have a baby you need support, love and guidance no matter if it is your first or your fifth child. Never be ashamed to ask for help, it is a sign of strength not weakness.”

If you’re interested in hiring a postpartum doula in the Philadelphia, NJ, or Delaware area – you can contact Lenamarie via her website: www.birthwithavoicedoulaservice.com

You can also purchase her New Mommy Box & Breastfeeding Box online.

And don’t forget to follow Birth With a Voice on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

Do you have a question about postpartum doulas?  Leave it in the comments!