You may have heard the term doula before, but you may not be sure what one does or how having one will benefit you during your pregnancy and childbirth experience. As your pregnancy moves forward, it’s important to discuss the benefits of having a doula and how they can help keep you as comfortable as possible during this special time in your life. Check out these 10 benefits of having a doula when you’re pregnant below to learn more about why these professionals are so useful and helpful in your delivery room journey.
1) May decrease your risk of needing a cesarean
Women who have support during labor are more likely to have less intervention, which can ultimately lead to a reduced chance of having to deliver via cesarean section. A study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that pregnant women with continuous support from doulas had lower C-section rates than those who did not receive such assistance.
2) Helps you stay active throughout your pregnancy
As you prepare for pregnancy, you might worry that your health and fitness will take a nosedive. But don’t be deterred by fears. As your pregnancy progresses, your prenatal care provider may refer you to an exercise specialist called a doula. A doula is trained to work with pregnant women and can provide invaluable support during your prenatal workouts.
3) Help choose your health care providers
As your pregnancy progresses, it can become overwhelming to keep track of everything that’s going on with your health and wellness. A doula is someone you hire to help you navigate those nine months from an emotional perspective as well as an educational one. No matter how healthy and fit you are prior to becoming pregnant, every pregnancy is different. It’s important to be aware of potential risks in order to get treatment if something goes wrong during your pregnancy or labor.
4) Educate you on all facets of pregnancy and birth
A doula’s primary role is to offer emotional support and comfort, but she can also provide education. She can help you prepare for labor and delivery, including ways to help with pain management. And she will also inform you about your hospital’s policies so that there are no surprises when you get there. Most importantly, though, a doula will give you someone to talk to who isn’t your partner or anyone else who may have their own opinions on how things should go down.
5) Ensure proper nutrition for baby and mom
Many women are used to preparing their own meals and snacks while they’re pregnant. But as your stomach becomes more sensitive, it may be difficult to continue eating what you normally do. A doula will assist you in making sure you’re getting proper nutrition from high-quality food sources. She’ll also help to make healthy meal choices for you, such as balancing your calcium intake for strong bones for both mom and baby.
6) Keep you sane through your birth experience
Even though your body is going through massive changes, and you’re exhausted in a way you never knew possible, it’s crucial to keep in mind that your body is undergoing one of its greatest transformations: bringing new life into existence. Knowing that can help calm you down when things get tough and remind you to relax—you’ve got an important job to do. Birth doesn’t have to be painful or scary; having an experienced doula at your side can make all the difference.
7) Offer non-medical support during labor/birth
A doula doesn’t attend your birth to deliver your baby, but she will provide support and comfort to you during labor and birth. Studies show that women who use a doula are more likely to have positive birth experiences, including shorter labors and higher satisfaction with their care providers.
8) Provide information about Postpartum Birth Preparation
Ask your doula to come over before you give birth and take some time to talk about what it is like to be pregnant, what happens during labor and birth, and how she can help with breastfeeding. Preparing for your postpartum period can help you make decisions regarding feeding, sleeping arrangements, and scheduling time for physical activity after giving birth.
9) Walk alongside you in a life-changing event
Whether you’re expecting your first or fifth child, having a doula by your side can be extremely beneficial. In addition to providing comfort and reassurance, doulas provide vital physical and emotional support. Research shows that women who are actively supported through labor have shorter labors, experience less pain during delivery, and have greater breastfeeding success rates.
10) Get compensation from insurance companies
If you have health insurance, it’s likely that there is an out-of-network clause. This means you may be able to get additional compensation from your health insurer if you hire someone outside of their approved list of providers. To ensure your provider will be reimbursed, ask them to send you a bill so you can take it with you when going to your appointment. If they don’t want to do that, consider switching. Getting compensation may just be worth it!