Sunday, April 22, 2012

Doula Services

Laura Dugovic
Image credit:Ashlee Raubach Photography

"If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it." ~John H. Kennell, MD 

What is a doula?

A doula is a trained labor companion. I am trained to give women the support they need in labor. The great part about a trained labor companion is this: I don't work for a hospital, I don't work for a doctor's office, I work for YOU.  I work to help you prepare for your birth beforehand, and then, once labor starts, I am there with you every step of the way as you labor to bring your baby into the world. I have completed an intensive and thorough training course, read several books required by nationally recognized doula certification institutions, and have completed my certifying births. I love what I do, and I am committed to safeguarding your birthing experience so that it can be everything you hope it will be.

Doulas don't replace the role of dad. They enhance the birth partner relationship and work to serve BOTH parents during this sacred and emotional process.

You can find a great article about dads and doulas HERE.

As a professional Labor Companion, I offer the following:

Emotional / Mental Support
  • I talk you through each phase of labor. 
  •   I help you understand where you are in the process, and what your body is doing.
  • Using encouraging words and feedback, I help you keep perspective and stay on course for the birth you have planned for yourself. 
  •   I will talk you through relaxation, visualization, and meditation techniques. Or I will enable your partner to talk you through them. I allow your partner to participate at his/her comfort level
  • I stay with you to the end. No matter what.Whether your birth takes 4 hours, or 24 hours, or 48+ hours. I am there for you. Not only am I there for you, but I am HAPPY to be there for you – regardless of length

Physical Support
o   I keep you as comfortable as possible.
o   I suggest different positions that you may like to labor in.
o   I use light touch massage to help you feel good.
o   I use essential oils, lotions, and massage to help clear nausea, headaches, and body aches. 
o   I help give dad/birth companion direction so he/she has clearly defined avenues to help and serve you best.
o   I bring you water, ice chips, food, hot packs, cold packs, anything you need to increase comfort levels. I also bring dad any of those things and any other thing he might need to feel supported and empowered to be your #1 support.

Informational Support

o   I can help you understand what doctors or nurses are saying when they use medical terminology.
o   I am a medical jargon dictionary/decipher-er.
o   I can talk you through the pros and cons of different choices that need to be made so that you'll have enough information to make a choice that works for you.
o   I will respect and support you in your choices - whatever they may be.
o   I am NOT there to make choices for you or to pass judgment on any choice you may decide to make, rather, I am there to give you all the information you need to make the choice that is right for YOU.
o   If you say: "I really want to stay the course and have an unmedicated birth." I will say - "GREAT!"
o   If you say: "I have carefully considered all of my options, and now I want an epidural." I will say - "GREAT!" 
o   If you say: “I really feel the urge to jump up and down and sing the ABC Song at the top of my lungs.”  I will say… {Yep, you guessed it.} “GREAT!” And then I will jump up and down and sing the ABC’s at the top of my lungs with you. Because no one should have to do that alone.. It will be awesome.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier, and they breastfeed more easily.

Doula Statistics:

Effects on Birth Outcomes:
  • Labors are 25% shorter.¹
  • There are fewer complications.
  • Cesarean rates are reduced by 50%.¹
  • There is 40% less need for oxytocin to speed up labor.¹
  • Need for forceps is reduced by 40%.¹
  • Women request 30% less pain medication and 60% fewer epidurals.¹
Effects on the Mother:
  • Greater satisfaction with their birth experience.
  • More positive assessments of their babies.
  • Less postpartum depression.
Effects on the Baby:
  • Babies have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries.
  • Babies breastfeed more easily.
  • Mothers are more affectionate to their babies postpartum.
Effects on the Health Care System:
  • The cost of obstetrical care is dramatically reduced.
  • Women are pleased with the personalized care doulas offer.
  • The Benefit of continuous support in labor is recognized by:
    • The World Health Organization
    • The Medical Leadership Council (an organization of over 1200 U.S. hospitals)
    • The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada
¹ Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth, by Kennell, Klaus, and Kennell (1993)

I support women living in the greater Las Vegas area.
 My Doula Services include:

  • 1 prenatal appointment where I get to know you and understand your wishes for your upcoming birth.
  • Birthing positions and pre-birth exercises taught to mom and birth companion.
  • Full Doula care {light touch massage, counter-pressure, etc.} and continuous support throughout entire birthing {regardless of length}.
  •  Access to me by cell phone 24/7 in the weeks leading up to your birth.
  • A postpartum call, followed by a postpartum visit {and additional visits as needed}.

Go here to watch a more in-depth docu-video all about doulas.