DOULA – an ancient Greek work that means “a woman who serves.” It is used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides physical, emotional and informational support to a mom before, during, and just after she gives birth.
Postpartum doulas provide emotional and hands-on support during the postpartum period.
I had a great opportunity to provide doula care to a group of women through the Sunny Futures Healthy Start program, sponsored by Neighborhood Centers, Inc. Patti Heimlich, owner of Houston Pregnancy Massage and Doula Care brought in myself and several other DOULAS to provide this service to a group of expectant moms in the Sunnyside, Third, and Fifth Ward communities.
The purpose of this program was to help reduce infant mortality and low birth weight babies by educating and training women on how to get the best care for themselves during pregnancy. Our group of Doulas was brought in to partner with the Sunny Futures Healthy Futures program as a support to help prevent pre-term birth, fetal and infant death and to reduce the incidence of low birth-weight babies. Below are a few DOULA facts from www.childbirth.org:
A Doula Provides:
Exercise and physical suggestions to make pregnancy more comfortable
Help with preparation of birth plan
Massage for pain relief
Positioning suggestions during labor and birth
Helps support the partner so that they can love and encourage mom during labor
Help with breastfeeding preparation, getting the baby to latch on.
Benefits of Having a Doula:
50% reduction in c-section rate
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in pitocin use
40% reduction in forceps
30% reduction in pain medicine use