What is a Birth Doula?
I offer doula services at home and hospital births in the Louisville area alongside my partners Nicole Aldridge and Ashley Benz. In October 2014, Ashley, Nicole and I created Louisville’s first doula partnership—Louisville Doula Group. The word doula comes from an ancient Greek word meaning "to serve." True to the spirit of this role, the word is now used to refer to a woman who is a professional labor assistant, advocating for the birthing mother and her child. Doulas have been referred to as "labor and delivery tour guides," providing physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and after childbirth.
Having a doula is an important part of your birth team. While doulas do not deliver babies, nor do they provide medical procedures such as blood pressure checks or listening to the baby's heartbeat, the play an important part from a holistic standpoint, providing the emotional component. An increasing number of OB/GYNs and labor & delivery nurses are not only approving but embracing doulas as a member of the birth team; I enjoy the interaction and, for the uninitiated, strive to put everyone at ease. I do this by introducing myself to everyone present at each birth, explaining my role as the laboring woman's (and her partner's, if applicable) emotional support while the medical personnel attend to the physical needs of the mother.
Research¹ shows that the presence of a doula can:
- 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
- 28% decrease in the risk of C-section
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
¹Source, Hodnett et al.
Since training with Doulas of North America (DONA) in 2006, I have had the honor of assisting more than 100 families as they've welcomed their babies into their lives. I am grateful to all of the families who have invited me to share in this most joyous day. Some scenarios I have helped women encounter include natural childbirth in the hospital and at home; birth with an epidural; twins; induction of labor; and cesarean birth. I particularly enjoy the challenge of working with families who desire a natural childbirth experience and mothers who are pursuing a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Whatever you choose, I believe that each birth is beautiful and unique!If you are interested in doula services, please direct all inquiries to Louisville Doula Group. Along with my partners Nicole Aldridge and Ashley Benz, I look forward to talking with you and helping you plan for a safe, healthy and happy birth experience.