The weekend has arrived and been completed, folks! I had a very busy week and did not get this post out on Friday as originally planned, but here it is! This weekend, we drove down for a long overdue with some old friends a few hours south of here and were pretty excited to have some time away. Laughter and making memories is always a great way to relieve the stress of the day-to-day commitments. It was much needed.
The exciting news on the pregnancy front this week is: We hired a doula!
When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew what a doula was but I wasn’t so sure that it would actually be beneficial to hire one. They aren’t the cheapest of birthing additions and I just did not know that it was necessary. I kept telling myself that women give birth. Every. Single. Day. Women do it without medication and hospitals. They do it without fear and the female body is made for it. I hoped that I would instinctively know what to do when the time came, or the midwifery staff I am choosing to work with would be able to help me through the birthing process.
I am not saying this is not a completely perfect path to take. Women really do give birth every day without a doula. But for us, we decided that we’d prefer to go through the process with a doula.
I began reading some books and conversing with different moms about the births of their children; the experience they had. As we all know, every person experiences birth differently and no two people need the same things to get through labor and delivery of an infant successfully. Every situation is unique. However, there are some things I can consider, plan for, try to avoid, etc. I can have a birthing plan in place and while it is most likely that the birth of our child will not go exactly according to plan, the hope is that some components of this plan can be sustained.
For me, I know that I would like to try and avoid certain situations that can be relatively common in hospitals in our society:
An epidural. An epidural can lead to a cascade of other events, depending on the timing it is given during labor. Some believe that having the epidural can actually slow the progression of labor because the mom is less sensitive and is unable to follow inherent cues to push when warranted. It also comes with some risks such as long-term nerve damage and the leaking of cerebrospinal fluid if the anesthesiologist overshoots the epidural space. This can lead to severe headache and requires mom to lay flat for hours. As you may guess, if progression of labor is slowed and mom isn’t able to move around to help the descent of the little babe, there exists a higher risk for undergoing a cesarean section- another thing I would like to avoid.
Now, I have also been told by numerous individuals, including my midwives, that there may be a point during the laboring process that mom is too tired to push and becomes tense, which also slows the progression of labor. The use of an epidural at this point has been known to help avoid a cesarean by allowing mom to relax enough to allow little babe to be born.
I won’t go any further into what we want and don’t want for our birth- I will save that for another blog 😉 But the reason I bring it up is that doula’s can help with situations like these. According to the American Pregnancy Association, research shows that doulas:
- Decrease the requests for an epidural by 60%
- Decrease the risk of undergoing a cesarean by 50%
- Decreases the length of labor by 25%
- Increase the likelihood that mom and dad’s voice is heard and that they are supported in whatever choices they make regarding the birthing process.
- Support dad in providing cares and interventions to help mom get through labor easier.
- Try different non-pharmacological pain-relieving techniques through different times of the laboring process. They think on their feet and have a wealth of knowledge regarding positions, movements, pressures, etc. to try to alleviate the pain and pressure. These are things I am sure I will not be able to think of on my own when all I want is to run away from the pain.
Again, I wasn’t sure when I met with a couple of doulas that I was going to hire one. I wanted to meet them and get some more information and perspective on the whole thing. But honestly, after meeting with them, there was not a doubt in my mind that a doula is right for me husband and me. I have no doubt that it will be a positive experience, but if it changes at all, I will update this post accordingly.