Adding a Doula to your Birth Plan
If you never thought of having a doula as part of your birth plan, you might want to take another look.
What is a doula?
A doula is a non-medical professional who supports women and makes sure their best interests are in mind throughout the pregnancy. We often speak of the benefits of having one, and now science has found that this age-old tradition comes with real benefits.
Why should I add a doula to my birth plan?
New research published in the journal Birth found that having a doula reduces the rate of cesarean deliveries and preterm births. What’s just as surprising is that having a doula can save you money — up to $1,000 a birth.
This isn’t the first study to praise the benefits of having a doula. Past studies have suggested that having a doula’s support can lead to healthier birth weights, fewer complications and less need for intervention during the birthing.
But this new study from Birth is particularly exciting. It’s the first to a direct link between doula-supported pregnancies and a lower rate of preterm births, as well as financial savings over the course of the pregnancy.
The study involved almost 2,000 women from the Midwest U.S. whose births were covered by Medicaid. Doula-assisted births led to an average of $986 per baby, mostly because of the significant drop in C-sections and 22% fewer preterm births. Believe it or not, preterm births are usually about ten times more expensive than full-term births.
The study didn’t go into the details of why doulas are associated with these positive results. It likely has to do with the doula’s role as an advocate. They help their mother-to-be avoid unnecessary treatments and intervention.
Coaching is an overlooked part of a doula’s role. They help educate and prepare you for your birth, as well help you figure out what kind of birth you want to have so you don’t go in without expectations. Doulas are with you for the entire way, so they become a comforting presence when things get tough. If you want to be able to let go and focus on having a positive birthing experience, think about bringing on a doula.
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