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The Benefits of having Doula support

Doula support during labour and birth

The role of a Doulas is so important to a woman’s birth experience. A Doula is there to provide physical, emotional and informational support during labour and birth. Their role isn’t medical its a supportive role. To mother the Mother.

There are many benefits to a woman by having a Birth Doula. Lots of studies have taken place to look at the benefits and differences it can make to a woman’s birth.

The Doula Book written by Marshall H. Klaus, Phyllis H. Klaus & John H. Kennell is a fantastic insight into the importance of Doula support. The stats highlighted below reinforce this.

Having Doula support can shorten labour by 25%

A study took place at Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston, Texas showed that out of 416 women those 212 with Doula support had an labour length averaging 7.4 hours compared to 204 without Doula support lasting 9.4 hours. ⠀

Out of this same group those 212 supported by a Doula 55% gave birth naturally with no intervention or pain relief compared to only 12% in the non-doula supported group. A significant difference.*

Caesareans reduced by 45%

The Cleveland Couples Study found that out of 555 couples those in the Doula supported group had a caesarean rate of 14.2% compared to 22.5% for those labouring alone. ⠀

42 of these 555 couples were being induced for various reasons. Out of this group 20 were supported by a Doula & 20% (4) of these women had a caesarean compared with 22 who had no Doula support & 63.6% (14) had a caesarean. This is 3 times more for the non-Doula supported group.⠀

Strong evidence to suggest the significance of having a Doula supporting an induced labour to lower caesarean rates.*⠀

Pain medication reduced by 30%

Studies found that continuous labour support from a Doula reduced the odds of receiving pain relief by 30%.⠀

The reason for this is believed to be due to a Doula giving sole emotional, psychological & non-medical physical support. Of course this can’t be expected of midwifes as they have other duties & women to attend to therefore on some occasions maybe needing to leave a labouring woman.⠀

This study is also supported by a clinical observation of Dr. Kieran O’Driscoll who noted that if a midwife providing continuous emotional & physical support leaves for just 5 minutes upon return it takes nearly an hour to get a mother back to her earlier calm state.*

Synthetic oxytocin use reduced by 40%

Oxytocin is the hormone the birthing body produces. It’s needed for the uterus to contract during labour. Oxytocin is a hormone that needs to be respected, to be unobserved, in a dimly lit space. It’s also known as the love hormone as its what we produce when we have sex, kiss, cuddle.⠀

This hormone has been recreated in order to assist women during labour or for use as part of an induction. Often known as Syntocinon.⠀

It can be of valuable assistance during labour especially if labour has been long, a woman is tired & needs some assistance but it can also cause surges to become more forceful & painful. So mother’s who may have been managing labour well often find they then need an epidural or another form of pain relief to manage the sensations once syntocinon is administered.⠀

Studies found that women supported by a Doula affected the need for syntocinon.⠀

Study one found that 2% of Doula supported women needed syntocinon compared to 13% in the non-Doula group. ⠀

The Houston study found that out of 416 women 17% of Doula supported women needed syntocinon compared to 44% in the non-Doula group.*⠀

Forceps usage reduced by 34%

As a hypnobirthing teacher forceps are often a stress factor I find for expectant Mums that I teach. Something they’ve heard stories about. Not wanting to have them or the worry of what forceps can do to their baby. ⠀

The Houston Study found that out of 416 women those in the Doula group 8% had forceps used during labour compared to 26% in the non-Doula group. Isn’t that a significant reduction!⠀

This goes hand in hand with the reduction of epidurals used when a Doula is supporting birth as forceps are often used when anesthesia has been used.*

Increased number of breastfeeding mums

Studies found a significance difference in those woman who had a Doula with feeding behaviour at 6 weeks postpartum.⠀

For 63% of women from the no Doula group experienced feeding problems compared to 16% in the Doula group. ⠀

51% of the Doula group women were exclusively breastfeeding & 81% of those Mums feeding on demand compared to 29% of the no Doula group exclusively breastfeeding & 47% of those demand feeding.⠀

These results are significant. Could it be that women having Doula support reduces the anxiety of the mother during and after labour?*

Reduced anxiety in mothers

A study was undertaken where Doulas supporting first time Mums were asked to remain with the labouring women. Using touch and verbal communication focusing on 3 primary factors comfort, reassurance and praise. ⠀

This showed favourably the benefit of the Doula being present at birth for the psychological & emotional outcomes after birth. ⠀

Doula supported mothers showed a significant reduction in anxiety, self-esteem & depression. ⠀

28% of the Doula supported group showed signs of anxiety post birth compared to 40% of those in the no Doula group.⠀

A woman’s mental health after birth is so very important after birth. So for me this is a very significant stat as we often focus so much on birth & forget the mental state of mind after birth.*

Fewer signs of postnatal depression

Postnatal depression (PND) is not a to be taken lightly & it’s also so important that the signs are recognised & not confused with post traumatic stress or a more recent conversation peace around matrescence.
The Birth of a Mother having also born a new identity as a Mother can be as demanding as giving birth to a baby.

Becoming a mother is an identity shift. One of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience.⠀

When this new identity is born it can affect a woman through PND which needs to be correctly diagnosed.⠀

Studies found that at 6 weeks 10% of women who had been supported by a doula developed PND compared to 23% of those in the no-Doula group. A significant difference. ⠀

If fewer mothers develop PND when supported by a Doula the benefits are great for the mother, baby, family members. Women need to feel safe & cared for pre and post natally.*

Reduced health issues with newborns

The findings from a study where Doulas were present at birth are astounding for the health issues of newborns at 6 weeks.⠀

Those women who had a Doula found that only 4% of their newborns were suffering from vomiting compared to the non-Doula group at 28%.⠀

39% of those supported by a Doula indicated their newborn had suffered from a cold or runny nose compared to 69% in the non-Doula group.⠀

Poor appetite from the infant was reported by 25% of the non-Doula group compared to 0% in the Doula group.⠀

Pretty incredible stats for the two groups where the hospital admission were no different & no reasons at birth to expect such differences in the infants. ⠀

Perhaps it could be argued that the presence of a Doula reduces a Mother’s anxiety sufficiently & boosts her self-esteem that she considers her baby healthier?*

*The Doula Book – Klaus, Kennell & Klaus

I’m sure you’d agree these are pretty impressive stats. Imagine if all women had access to a Doula? That it became the norm? So if you’re contemplating having a Doula I hope these stats reinforce the benefits.

‘If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it’ – Dr. John H. Kennell

Interested in having a Birth Doula or just want to know more?

As a Birth Doula I cover most areas I can get to within an hour from Twickenham including Ascot, Barnes, Chelsea, Clapham, Cobham, Esher, Fulham, Guildford, Isleworth, Kingston, Putney, Richmond, St Margarets, Staines, Surbiton, Sunningdale, Teddington, Twickenham, Virginia Water, Wandsworth, Weybridge and Windsor.

I offer my Doula services on their own or coupled with my hypnobirthing courses.

To find out more about having a doula, learning about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing course get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

group hypnobirthing course in twickenham, group hypnobirthing course doula support

Can you have a positive birth with an Induction?

A positive induced birth story

I had the pleasure of teaching an old marketing colleague of mine back in April. It was so lovely to be contacted by Kate. Seeking my advice and for some help with her second pregnancy as she was potentially facing an induction.

Having developed gestational diabetes late on in her pregnancy – something that I see affect so many healthy and fit pregnant women. Kate decided she needed to help overcome the fear as she felt the panic setting it at 37 weeks. The talk of a big baby and induction was taking its toll. Kate said she was feeling a bit terrified.

Of course reading this I was keen to help Kate and Oli as much as I could. We found the time we needed and set upon the course. I felt confident with the teaching that it would help them both.

Can you use hypnobirthing techniques for an induction?

Hypnobirthing techniques can be used for all types of births. There’s not one birth where the tools and techniques of fear release, keeping calm can’t come in to play.

When I work with clients where we are focusing on a specific type of birth I tailor it completely. So in Kate & Oli’s instance as well as looking at the relaxations, understanding what the induction process looks like we spoke about how we could try and get the body to be as relaxed as possible to encourage spontaneous labour. What we can do to change our birth environment with an induction.

Induction Day

I knew when Kate was due to be induced. I’d been thinking about her leading up to it and we’d been in touch. So I can’t tell you how completely overjoyed I was when I received a gorgeous message 4 hours after Kate had given birth. Accompanied by some beautiful pictures.

24 hours later Kate had then sent me this beautiful birth story. With permission to share to hopefully ease the fear that other women facing an induction might be feeling.

The birth of a Nell

I just wanted to drop you a note to say a huge thank you for transforming my birthing experience.

Baby Nell was born naturally and in a calm environment on Friday. It was everything we could have wished for. I am certain this wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t tried hypnobirthing.

We decided to try hypnobirthing after a traumatic first birthing experience and a surprise diagnosis of gestational diabetes with our second baby. As my due date approached I was feeling really anxious and out of control. I was being told I would likely be induced. Not allowed on the midwife led unit and had a large baby – all of which terrified me!

Despite trying absolutely everything to get baby Nell to make an early appearance she was just too happy in my tum. So at 40 weeks I went in for an induction but thanks to our sessions I went in feeling excited to meet our baby and informed. I knew exactly what was going to happen and I knew my options.

Unfortunately with an induction you get placed on an antenatal ward and this one was particularly lively! I was induced at 1pm and started having contractions at 10pm.

The ward was a stressful place. I could hear mums in active labour delivering babies. Bed neighbours who weren’t courteous of noise. Emergency alarms and lots of crying newborn babies.

What I learnt from you is that once on the induction path, you don’t get off it. In order to labour naturally I needed peace and a calm environment. So amongst all the chaos – we created a nice environment in my bay. We had sound cancelling head phones and I spent the night contracting in peace cuddled up with Oli with a vile of clary sage. I felt calm and in control.

Around 7am I was moving in to active labour – but the timing coincided with builders outside drilling and the ward waking up! It was a very stressful environment and I could tell I was getting anxious as my contractions started to slow. 

Oli and I decided to leave my bay. We found a quiet corner in the maternity wing where I was alone and unobserved. I only went back when I started to feel the need to push, the matron immediately trusted me. She knew I was ready and moved me to a private room, examined me and offered me the birthing suite immediately in the natural birth centre. Something I didn’t think would be possible because of my GD). Two hours later, our gorgeous baby girl was born in the pool amongst two fabulous midwives, music, candles and a very calm mum!

Without having the awareness to create that early safe environment I am certain the pessary would not have worked. Before hypnobirthing I would have allowed the ward to stress me out. I am sure I would have probably ended up needing more drugs to get labour started.

The whole thing was over in 12 hours. I had the support and trust of the midwives because they knew I felt in control. As a result, they took me seriously.

I really hope this is a useful story for other Mums. What could have been another unpleasant experience was actually incredibly special. It was all due to a shifting mind set.

You’ll also be pleased to know that just like in our sessions, the relaxation techniques sent Oli straight off to sleep!

Thanks again for everything. We’re so over the moon to have our girl here with us (who coincidentally wasn’t big at all!).

Want to know more about how hypnobirthing can help you?

I teach private hypnobirthing courses and offer Doula support around London, Surrey & Berkshire. Areas include Chertsey, Hampton, Isleworth, Kingston, Richmond, Sheen, St Margarets, Sunbury, Surbiton, Teddington, Twickenham, Weybridge & Windsor.

Do you have a Pregnant Pal? I offer the £325 group course price for 2 or more couples but in the comfort of your own home.

To find out more about hypnobirthing, doula support or to book your hypnobirthing course get in touch.I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog, FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

Can you have a positive birth with an Induction?

My Doula Journey

Becoming a Doula

I’d been thinking about being a Doula for quite a while. I’d had clients ask me if I was a doula. Told how they’d like to have had me at the birth. It felt like a very natural progression to the hypnobirthing teaching. I get to build lovely relationships with my clients. To then be present during one of the most wonderful moments of a woman’s excites me.

Since having had my first son birth has fascinated me. I’m far too squeamish to be a midwife. How could I ever take bloods at a woman’s booking in appointment?! But a Doula I could certainly do that.

What does a Doula do?

A doula isn’t medically trained. That’s not to say you don’t get midwifes, doctors, nurses training to be doulas. A Doula’s role is to give continuous support to a birthing woman. To Mother the Mother as women can get forgotten about during birth. Support physically and emotionally. Nurture, encourage but not to make decisions for. Not to give advice but to signpost so a woman can be as informed and knowledgeable about her birth. To be unbiased, listen, support.

A Doula doesn’t replace the birth partner, the midwife, obstetrician but there as part of that woman’s team.

It’s a big role for a birth partner sometimes being the only person in the room with a birthing mother. Some birth partners want support in that room as they worry will they be enough for that woman. Will they be able to cope with this new role that they will need to take on. For birth partners where a Doula is present they worry less about what they need to do which therefore relaxes the mother and birth partner.

My Doula Training

I undertook my doula training with Birth Bliss Academy and loved every moment of it. The long intense days don’t feel that way when its something you are so passionate about. Being in a room with 12 other women who all want to help women achieve the most positive and empowering birth experience.

Women from all different walks of lives. Some of us mothers others not but all with the same end goal to support pregnant women. It was a truly amazing environment to be in. It also shows how there is a doula for every woman you just have to find the right one for you.

Once completing the course and the post-module coursework this has allowed me to go on to find a doula mentor so that I can offer my services as a mentored doula to pregnant women under Doula UK.

Why have a doula?

Research supports that by having a doula at your birth it can:

  • Shorten labour by up to 25%
  • Reduce caesareans by 45%
  • Use of pain relief reduced by 30%
  • The use of forceps reduced by 34%
  • Fewer signs of postnatal depression
  • Reduce anxiety in new mothers
  • Improve the breastfeeding journey

‘If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it’Dr. John H. Kennell

Looking at the stats above it really does reinforce this quote. To be able to potentially reduce many of the stress factors that often worry women during pregnancy surely seems sensible doesn’t it?

Interested in having a Birth Doula or just want to know more?

As a Birth Doula I cover most areas I can get to within an hour from Twickenham including Ascot, Barnes, Chelsea, Clapham, Cobham, Esher, Fulham, Guildford, Isleworth, Kingston, Putney, Richmond, St Margarets, Staines, Surbiton, Sunningdale, Teddington, Twickenham, Virginia Water, Wandsworth, Weybridge and Windsor.

I offer my Doula services on their own or coupled with my hypnobirthing courses.

To find out more about having a doula, learning about hypnobirthing or to book your hypnobirthing course get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

Follow me via my blog,  FacebookInstagram or Twitter to keep up to date with all workshops and events taking place.

Ali x

My Doula Journey