Doula Facts & History


Throughout history, women have been supported by other women during their labor. Birthing rooms would often be filled with friends and family to assist and encourage the new mother.

It is thought that the calm, steady support of doulas can reduce anxiety. Adrenaline, a "fight or flight" hormone caused by stress, has been shown to slow contractions and, therefore, lengthen labor. Our primal ancestors may have used this to find a safe space to give birth where they were not vulnerable, but we do not benefit from the anxiety today.

Today, a rise in adrenaline might be countered with a synthetic hormone to induce labor. There are many studies on the risks and benefits of this practice. Have you considered your preferences regarding induction? 

 

Comparing Oxytocin Use

Oxytocin use

Three studies, carried out in Guatemala and Houston, compared the length of time women labored, one group with a doula and one without. The presence of a doula appears to reduce the rate of oxytocin use. The use of oxytocin can speed up labor , which increases the rates of epidurals.  

*From CBI Workbook.

 

Hours of Labor

Duration of Labor

Three studies, carried out in Guatemala and Houston, compared the length of time women labored, one group with a doula and one without. Women with doula support had significantly shorter labors - in some cases, less than half the length of those without doula support. 

*From CBI Workbook.

 
Continuous support during labour may improve outcomes for women and infants, including increased spontaneous vaginal birth, shorter duration of labour, and decreased caesarean birth, instrumental vaginal birth, use of any analgesia, use of regional analgesia, low five-minute Apgar score and negative feelings about childbirth experiences.
— Cochrane Review - 2017