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5 Amazing Facts About Doulas in Honor of World Doula Week 2021
It’s time to celebrate the doulas in your life! Every year, March 22-28 marks World Doula Week – a time to spread awareness around the many ways that these essential non-medical support people better the lives of parents and babies. Doulas work tirelessly and passionately, using their vast knowledge and deeply loving hearts to make the transition to parenthood a safer and more positive experience for families worldwide. Here are some amazing facts you may not know about doulas.
1. They’re not just a luxury
And the research proves it. Having someone by your side to massage and encourage you in labor may sound like a nice treat. But it’s so much more. Research has shown that women attended by doulas had shorter labors, fewer medical interventions, and more satisfying birth experiences. Specifically, doula support is known to:
- Reduce the risk of C-section by 25-39%
- Increase likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth by 8-15%
- Reduce the use of pain medication in labor by 10%
- Shorten labor by 41 minutes on average
- Reduce the likelihood of a low 5-minute APGAR score by 38%
- Reduce the risk of being dissatisfied with birthing experience by 31%
Doulas lead to better outcomes for mothers and babies, period. That’s why Dr. John H. Kennell famously said, “If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”
2. They’re not just there for the birth
Many people associate doulas with labor support, but that’s just one aspect of doula care. Doulas also support parents through trying to conceive, abortion, miscarriage, pregnancy, and the postpartum period. Some doulas specialize in death support for people of all ages, helping clients facing terminal diagnoses to plan a comfortable and meaningful death.
3. They’re for the whole family
Parents who have the support of a doula report lower rates of postpartum mood disorders. Postpartum doulas not only help you learn to care for your new baby. They also help you learn to better care for yourself. Doulas support the whole family by tending to older children and pets, preparing meals, and performing light housework like dishes and laundry. When you hire a doula, you’re investing in your whole family’s wellbeing.
4. They’re well-connected
Doulas work more closely with families than most other professionals. They spend more time with you at each visit and over a longer period of time than doctors, nurses, and other specialists. This gives them a unique perspective and ability to get to know you deeply, recognizing when you or a family member needs more support. With their vast professional networks, they help parents quickly and easily schedule additional needed care. Your doula can help you find the best local chiropractor, pelvic floor specialist, family therapist, lactation consultant, pediatrician, and more.
5. They’re more popular than ever
A 2012 survey found that 6% of birthing families used the support of a doula, twice that which was found in 2006. And those numbers have only been increasing since. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, when doulas quickly adjusted their services to support new families virtually and in safe, socially-distanced capacities. And for those families who did not have a doula but knew about them, 27% said they would have liked to have had one.
Celebrate World Doula Week 2021
Becoming a parent – whether for the first or the fifth time – is never easy. Human beings are meant to go through the trying months of pregnancy, labor and postpartum with the utmost care and support. In a time with less extended family support than ever, doulas thankfully fulfill that role. Working odd, long hours and dropping on a dime to be by your side in your time of need, doulas are truly heroes for growing families.
In 2021, doulas are even more deserving of respect and recognition. This past year, doulas fought fervently for parental rights throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From attending births via Zoom, helping parents learn to breastfeed through windows, to fighting to get partners back in the labor room, doulas worked harder than ever this year. So this World Doula Week, spread the love by sharing these facts about doulas with the parents-to-be in your life. And be sure to thank a doula, too!