Professional Labor Support: Mothering the Mother
If you’re are planning your first hospital birth, you may be surprised to find out that studies have shown that the average labor and delivery nurse spends fifteen minutes of her eight-hour shift offering physical comfort measures, or advocating for her patient. If you and your partner want expert support to meet one of life’s greatest and rewarding challenges, you will have to bring her with you.
Your memories of labor stay with you for the rest of your life, including the intensity of the attached emotions. You will remember if you felt loved, supported, encouraged and cherished, or the reverse.
There are more than a dozen randomized controlled trials that have shown that the presence of a caring, experienced woman can reduce the length of labor, the use of pain medication, the need for IV oxytocin to stimulate stronger contractions, the likelihood of having an episiotomy, the percentage of instrumental vaginal deliveries, and the C-section rate.
These studies also show that women who have a doula:
- experience less pain and anxiety in labor
- express greater satisfaction with the labor
- feel that they coped better
- have a heightened appreciation of their bodies’ strength and performance and themselves as women breastfeed longer
- experience less difficulty in mothering
Summarized from The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, Henci Goer