Over time, humans went from giving birth unmedicated to placing parents-to-be in a sterile environment, isolated from loved ones, with the fear of their impending labor looming over them. This type of birthing experience tended to enhance the parent's anxiety and induce more stress than was necessary. Stress-filled labor can lead to birth complications and a negative experience for both parent and infant. Fortunately, the medical community has come to realize that the benefits of doulas to a parent's birthing experience are far more significant than they realized.
An expectant parent with doula support benefits significantly from having full emotional and physical support during a time in their life that may make them feel out of control. This type of support offers the self-confidence needed to have uncomplicated labor. Doula supported parents report experiencing less pain during delivery as well as a lower rate of epidurals, cesareans, and the use of medical instruments during the birthing process. This type of delivery also means that doula supported parents have lower hospital costs.
Stress-free labor is highly beneficial to not only the expectant parent but the infant as well. Studies have shown that babies born from a doula supported birth have higher Apgar scores. There is also a positive parent-infant interaction during childbirth, which also results in boosting early breastfeeding scores. The overall experience provides the new parent with higher self-confidence in their abilities to bring their child into the world safely.
Both the scientific and medical community now back doula support for birthing parents. Many studies and findings prove that this type of support has many benefits to both the parent and child that can't be ignored. WeTheParents have compiled these findings into 17 evidence-based benefits of doula support demonstrating the importance of doulas.
Neve is the mother of three, a natural birthing advocate, and a research nerd. She is chief editor at WeTheParents where she routinely creates engaging summaries of the scientific literature on various aspects of pregnancy and parenthood. You can catch her on Twitter and Facebook.
As the Philadelphia birth world blooms bigger and brighter, I think it's time I start putting some of the insightful questions I've received and information I've research into a public journal. I hope you'll find this inspiring, empowering, and totally enjoyable.