I am now a certified naturopathic doula! I have to admit, a part of my reasoning for taking the training that I completed this last weekend was purely selfish in nature. I’m entering my “ticking clock” years and my partner and I plan to start a family in the near future, so I wanted to glean as much information as possible about what happens during those precious hours of labor.
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Not only does a doula support the woman during labor, but she also prepares the soon-to-be mom prior to birth with education and a birth plan. An example of a comprehensive birth plan laid out by www.thebump.com can be found here.
A 2013 Cochrane review of random controlled trials of over 15,000 women reported that continuous support throughout labor a) increased the likelihood of a vaginal delivery, b) reduced caesarian section rates, c) reduced epidural usage, d) improved the APGAR score, and e) improved maternal satisfaction.
A few resources that you may find helpful if you’re wanting more information on healthy birthing: