As childbirth has moved from home to hospital, a vital element of care has been lost from the whole process. Gone are the days where a woman would have continuous support from one caregiver throughout her labour.
It used to be the case that the womenfolk within the immediate and extended family (mothers/sisters/grandmother etc...) would be on hand to provide the nurturing role for the new mother, to guide by experience and help with the practicalities that need to be performed before, during and after a woman gives birth to a baby.
The concept of the community midwife is only now being developed in Saskatchewan, but due to the immediate lack of resources, (midwives and willing Health Districts) this service will not be readily available to all women for perhaps another decade or more. Doulas fill this gap in services, by supporting women in the birth environment of their choice.
Presently, many women feel that they have no choice but to be in hospital to give birth to their baby where it is much more likely that a birth will be medically managed and intervention methods will be used.
RESEARCH has shown that having a Doula present at a birth ;
Shortens first-time labour by an average of 2 hours
Decreases the chance of caesarean section by 50%
Decreases the need for pain medication
Helps fathers participate with confidence
Increases success in breastfeeding.....
Reference: "Mothering the Mother,"
Klaus, Kennell & Klaus, 1993
A doula believes in “mothering the mother”
.....enabling a woman to have the most satisfying and empowered time that she can during pregnancy, birth and the early days as a new mum. This type of support also helps the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience.
Birth doulas are trained and experienced in childbirth, although they may or may not have given birth themselves. They have a good knowledge and awareness of female physiology BUT the Doula is not supporting the mother in a clinical role - that is the job of the midwife/medical staff.
Postnatal doulas work flexible hours to suit the family, offering practical and emotional support to the new mother and father in the home following the birth of baby. In the West today, too often mothers are rushed back into normal day-to-day activities; in many cultures women are confined to bed and rest for a period of up to 40 days.
This may be impossible in our society but with the help of a postnatal Doula, a mother can enjoy some of the benefits of a prolonged "lying in" period. This will help her bond with her baby and spend extra time with any older siblings. Our work is about empowering a family to take care of itself and we facilitate this by helping around the house and offering encouragement and suggestions.
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