Cape Fear Area Doulas is an area network connecting pregnant women to childbirth and postpartum doulas. Our goal is to improve the birthing experiences for all the women in the Cape Fear area through prenatal, labor, and postpartum support. Each doula in the network is independent, and the services they offer may vary. To learn more about the faces of Cape Fear Area Doulas, click here.
For more information about what a doula is and how they can help you, continue reading.
What Is A Doula?
A doula is a woman who understands the birth process and supports other women as they make their own transition into motherhood. She usually meets with the mother during her pregnancy, answering any questions that may arise, and helping her to prepare for her labor and birth and also providing postpartum support after the birth. A doula does not replace the father or partner, but rather allows the mother’s primary support person to be completely involved in her labor and birth.
During birth, a childbirth or labor doula will stay by the laboring woman’s side offering reassurance and continuous support for both the mother and her support partner that may be present. The childbirth doula will help the mother get the information she needs to make informed decisions regarding her care and help the mother communicate those decisions to her care providers. She will do everything she can to make the woman more comfortable both physically and emotionally, assisting the mother to ensure she has the birth she desires. Some childbirth doulas also offer assistance with breastfeeding after birth if the mother so desires, aiding the mother in bonding with her newborn(s), and often stay with the mother for up to a few hours after birth. Doulas recognize childbirth as an important event in a woman’s life, an experience she will always cherish.
A postpartum doula helps the mother with the transition and adjustment that comes with having a new addition to the family and the new (or recurring) role of motherhood. Postpartum services include instruction in newborn care, assistance with breastfeeding, and helping the new family with needs around the home.
There are many advantages to receiving this kind of care. In recent years, scientists have been attempting to understand and measure these benefits. Ten randomized studies* involving nearly 4000 first-time mothers demonstrated that the presence of a doula results in:
- 45% decrease in Cesarean sections
- 25% decrease in length of labor
- 34% decrease in use of forceps
- 50% decrease in use of synthetic oxytocin
- 60% decrease in use of epidurals
- 31% decrease in use of pain medications
Doulas not only improve the birth experience, but also contribute to long term benefits such as:
- Improved breastfeeding
- Decreased postpartum depression
- Greater maternal satisfaction following her birth experience
- Better mother-infant interaction
Each doula offers different services and may have received training from one of several different organizations. To learn more about the Cape Fear Area Doulas and what services each doula offers, click here.
*Compiled from The Doula Book by M.H. Klaus, J.H. Kennell, & P.H. Klaus, Perseus Publishing, 2002