Do Doulas Improve Birth Outcomes?

During and after the birth process, a doula provides knowledge, physical and emotional support, and advocacy to women and their partners. Doulas, unlike other practitioners like obstetricians, nurses, and midwives, do not provide medical advice or perform clinical tasks. They do, however, provide vital support and help during labour and delivery, making the process easier for the midwife and the expecting mother.

The word “doula” is derived from a Greek term that means “woman’s servant.” Doulas are non-medical professionals who give women ongoing physical, emotional, and informational assistance before, during, and after childbirth in order to help them have the greatest possible birth experience. There are Colorado Doula training workshops and surrounding states. Physical touch therapy is extremely effective during the birth process, especially throughout labour, in helping the mother to maintain a sense of comfort and control. When a pregnant woman is experiencing a contraction, her natural reaction is to stiffen because the discomfort is unbearable. Doulas help to normalise many of the emotions and body experiences that occur during pregnancy, which can be frightening and unsettling for a first-time mother.

Delivery outcomes of two groups of socially disadvantaged moms who were at risk for poor birth outcomes, one of whom received prenatal care from a licenced doula and the other of whom represented a sample of delivering moms who chose not to use a doula. The moms had all attended a prenatal health and childbirth education program. Expectant moms who were paired with a doula had a better birth experience. Doula assisted moms were four substantially less likely to have a baby with a low birth weight (LBW), two times less likely to have a birth problem involving themselves or their baby, and considerably more likely to begin breastfeeding. Throughout the pregnancy, communication with and encouragement from a doula may have boosted the mother’s self-efficacy in her ability to influence her own pregnancy outcomes.

The cost-effectiveness of professional doula care for a woman’s first two births: A systematic review, was released earlier this month. A decision analysis model is an exciting study on the benefits of doulas since it looked at the influence of doulas from a different perspective, that of economics. Many studies have looked at the influence of professional labour assistance on delivery outcomes throughout the years, but analysing doula assistance from a cost standpoint is not nearly as widely investigated.¬†

With increased scrutiny on methods to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, particularly among Black and other minority families, insurance companies, state Medicaid programs, and other health care financing programs across the United States are considering (and in some cases have already implemented) doula care as a covered benefit.

The World Health Organization recommended that mothers get continuous care throughout childbirth. However, campaigns promoting health facilities as the safest place to give birth have not always respected this practise around the world. However, new research on how a doula or other labour companion assists women throughout childbirth is now available.

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