Why hire a doula?

A growing body of research shows that the use of a doula has clear benefits for families during childbirth and postnatally, with no known risks.


As childbirth has moved from home to hospital, a vital element of care has been lost from the whole process. Gone are the days where a woman would have continuous support from one carer throughout her labour. It used to be the case that the womenfolk within the immediate and extended family (mothers/sisters/ grandmother etc) would be on hand to provide the nurturing role for the new mother, to guide by experience and help with the practicalities that need to be performed before, during and after a woman gives birth to a baby.


Later the concept of the community midwife developed, but due to lack of resources, this service is steadily declining in many areas.


Nowadays many women feel that they have to be in hospital to give birth to their baby where it is much more likely that a birth will be medically managed and intervention methods, such as caesarean section or forceps, will be used.


Eleven studies showed the following effects of doula support:

Effects on Birth Outcomes:

  • 50% decrease in caesarean section
  • 25% decrease in length of labour
  • 30% decrease in assisted delivery (use of forceps)
  • 40% decrease in the use of synthetic oxytocin to augment labour
  • 60% decrease in epidural use
  • 30% decrease in the use of narcotic pain medication*

*Research from Mothering the Mother by Klaus, Kennell and Klaus, 1993.


So in essence, mothers who use a doula during labour have been found to be less likely than women who did not use a doula to:

  • Have a caesarean birth
  • Choose an epidural
  • Use pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) 
  • Have a forceps delivery
  • Have their infant kept in the hospital for more than 2 days
  • Have a fever
  • Have difficulty breastfeeding
  • Experience post-natal anxiety and depression


In addition, mothers who use a doula during labour have been found to be more likely than women who did not use a doula to:

  • Breastfeed exclusively and for longer
  • Respond sensitively to their infants
  • View their relationship with their partner to be better after the birth
  • Have a positive image of their babies
  • Feel closer and well-bonded to their babies
  • Have confidence in their ability to mother
Klaus, Kennel & Klaus, The Doula Book, 2nd Edition
Use this link if you would like to read more about the research findings on birth outcomes with doula support.

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