When I first heard about the world of doulas, I was blown away.
Who knew that there were people out there who offer emotional support, knowledge, guidance, and strength during pregnancy and birth? The job of a doula – meaning “a woman who serves” – is solely to make sure you and your baby are healthy and happy during, and after pregnancy. Yet according to a 2012 study, nearly 40% of women don’t even know about doula services.
Services can include consultations, creation or assistance with birth plans, home visits, emergency 24-hour phone access with your doula, placenta services, and postpartum care. They can also include more fun services like pregnancy photos, belly casts, and newborn bonding. Doulas will help you deliver in a hospital, birthing center, or at home with the partnership of your doctor.
Doulas have a tough hippie-dippy stigma to beat. However, there is growing support for doulas in the medical community. According to a 2014 study from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, doulas may lower the odds of having a C-section by up to 60%. Another study from the Cochrane Database concluded that continuous support for women during childbirth made cesarean births and the use of pain medication more unlikely; meanwhile, the women reported having a more positive childbirth experience.
Riding the coattails of the medical studies, doulas are gaining popularity among celebrities as well. Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford, Kelly Ripa, Alanis Morissette, Alyson Hannigan and January Jones have all raved about their experience with their doulas. They are there to support what you want while looking out for the health of you and your baby. They offer a type of support that your doctor often cannot; emotional support.
Doulas typically have low prices and great payment plan options. Packages can start as low as under $200 for just the birth, and can go as high as the mid-$2000s for both birth & postpartum services.
To learn more about doulas, visit dona.org.
To connect with one in the Scottsdale area, visit doulamatch.net or contact your hospital for recommendations. Doulas work independently and in conjunction with medical centers. Some highly recommended centers in the valley area that specialize in doula services include Blossom Birth and Wellness Center (they boast a less than 5% c-section rate!), Doula Dianne, Health for Life Naturopathic Medicine, and Scottsdale Healthcare Shea.
Have you, or anybody you know, used the services of a doula before? What did you think?