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.
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 thatdoulas played a significant role in providing a stress-free environment, aiding in an uncomplicated birth.
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.
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!
While healthcare in Canada is free for citizens – and I wouldn’t want it any other way – it can be a challenge for mothers to find and access proper postpartum depression resources.
Obviously, speaking to a doctor would be the first step. But often, our family doctors, obstetricians or gynecologists were not our first choice, but rather, the ones with the shortest waiting list. It’s difficult to speak to someone about something as personal as postpartum depression when a strong relationship doesn’t exist.
For mothers in Canada, it’s important to have a list of postpartum depression resources we can access when we don’t get the answers we were looking for from our primary healthcare providers. Free healthcare doesn’t have to mean that our options are limited.
Here are a few different postpartum depression resources available to Canadians…
Postpartum Support International
PSI (postpartum.net) is perhaps one of the best postpartum depression resources available to women regardless of where you live. View their list of postpartum depression resources in Canada for contacts you can reach out to in each province. At the bottom of the page, you can get information for different support groups available in cities across Canada.
The PSI helpline is available to Canadians (and internationally). If you’re not sure where to begin on your journey to recovery, but simply know that you need help, calling this number is a great first step.
A postpartum doula is a fairly newer trend in postpartum support. While many women hire doulas to help them through labor and delivery, a postpartum doula is specifically there to help you in the postpartum period. They will do anything that you need – from helping with the baby to cleaning the house and running errands. Even if you have the support of a spouse or family members, a trained doula comes with a ton of knowledge, both about newborn baby care and maternal mental health.
So if you’re struggling, or worried about getting through the postpartum period on your own – consider hiring a postpartum doula to help.
Where to Find a Postpartum Doula
The best places to find a postpartum doula near you is by searching the member directories on professional certification websites.
An online support group is a great resource for mothers suffering from postpartum depression and other maternal mental health disorders. There is something so freeing about chatting with a stranger, commenting on posts from women who feel exactly the same as you do, and being able to share any knowledge you’ve come across or support another mother who is struggling.
The Canadian Postpartum Depression Support Network on Facebook has over 600 members and is a very active group with extremely supportive members who comment on nearly every post almost immediately. There is a benefit to joining a specifically Canadian group, as the members can relate to the healthcare system and treatment options available. Join this group here.
If you’re looking for a more specific group, simply search on Facebook groups for one. Once you find a group that’s the right fit, it can easily become one of your most treasured postpartum depression resources.
A crisis hotline is available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency or if you are contemplating suicide, hurting yourself or hurting someone else. The hotline operators are trained to handle emergency situations, especially those pertaining to mental health, so you can rest assured that they will understand what you are going through.
A local crisis hotline is one of the most important postpartum depression resources to keep nearby in case your mental health worsens suddenly. In the event that you need physical intervention or support, help can be dispatched immediately.
A list of different crisis hotline numbers available by province can also be found on the Your Life Counts website –www.yourlifecounts.org
Counseling is an excellent treatment option for women with postpartum depression, however, there are many barriers to meeting with a counselor in person.
Some things that may discourage mothers from seeking face-to-face counseling:
Difficulty finding a counselor that you feel comfortable talking to
Unable to arrange childcare while attending sessions
Unmotivated to leave the house for appointments
Scheduling conflicts or a lack of extra time
Fear of others finding out that you need counseling
Online counseling is a much better option for mothers with postpartum depression. Through sites such as Online Therapy and BetterHelp, mothers will be matched with a counselor based on their needs, and the sessions conveniently take place from the privacy of their own home.
Genetic Research Study
Mom Genes is a genetic research study being conducted in Canada by the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. (It’s also being run in several other countries by their own sponsors). They are currently trying to collect information from women who have postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. With this information, they will hopefully be able to find out the cause of postpartum depression as well as develop better programs and treatment options.
To take part in the study is very simple – it just requires downloading a free app. If you qualify, you’ll be asked to provide a DNA sample in the form of a saliva kit which will be mailed to you. In addition to contributing to this important study, the app provides postpartum depression resources, such as a tip of the week and important phone numbers.
One of the best online sites to purchase health and wellness products in Canada is Well.ca. Whatever natural products you need for your own self-care routine and to help improve your mental health can be found here. Check out Well.ca’s Women’s Health Section to find all the products you’re currently using.
Decent, Canadian, online shopping sites are surprisingly good postpartum depression resources because it’s difficult to find the motivation to leave the house to find the products we need for our own health.
Platforms to Spread Awareness
Postpartum depression is dark and ugly. It’s shocking and harsh and evil and all the bad things in the world. But it’s also something beautiful. It’s powerful and real and truthful. A postpartum depression story, when shared with the world, can change lives.
The Mighty(follow other sufferers of mental illness and submit your own story or poem about postpartum depression)
YouTube(view postpartum depression stories that other moms have uploaded)
Or, consider starting your own blog! Mental health bloggers are doing some incredible things to help spread awareness and end the stigma by speaking up and sharing their stories. If you’re interested in learning how to start your own mental health blog, check out this tutorial: How to Start Blogging About Postpartum Depression.
It’s unfortunate that there isn’t enough awareness about postpartum depression resources in Canada.
Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
Know of a Canadian postpartum depression resource that’s not on this list? Let me know!