If you want to create a nonviolent world, we must begin with how we connect to our babies in utero, how we birth our babies and how we treat each other form the beginning of life because this is where our deepest patterns of behaviours are set. Attitudes need to change. Women are becoming more and more fearful about birth. We can’t afford to wait another generation for those women who are embracing birth in a positive way to pass on their beautiful stories to their sons and daughters. Choosing a doula is one of the most important decisions you will make during pregnancy, Doula is a Greek word meaning “to serve”. Doulas are not medically trained and do not provide medical advice; they provide much, much more. They are women supporting women. They are trained to look after you emotionally and physically during pregnancy, labour, birthing and postnatally. Your doula will provide information about choices – how to shop around and choose the caregivers, birth place and prenatal education that is best for you. She will support and guide you during pregnancy and during labour and birthing she will stay with you, wherever you are, at home or in hospital, nurturing and protecting you. A doula will be your advocate, should you need one. Modern obstetric care frequently subjects women to institutional routines, which may have adverse effects on labour progressing normally. A review of studies by Hodnett et al, 2007, including 16 trials from 11 countries involving more than 13,000 women in a wide range of settings and circumstances stated: “Women who received continuous labour support were more likely to give birth with neither caesarean nor vacuum nor forceps. In addition, women were less likely to use pain medications, were more likely to be satisfied, and had slightly shorter labours. In general, labour support appeared to be more effective when it was provided by women who were not part of the hospital staff .” You might be asking at this point, why not just have your partner, your mother, your sister or your best friend at the birth of your baby? Should we really expect partners to take on this role? What a huge ask! They are about to become a dad and they should be able to relax, feel supported and enjoy the birthing experience. As one woman remarked: “I want the doula there for reassurance and to comfort me and I want my partner there for emotional support.” The World Health organization recommends that the caesarean rate should not be higher than 15 percent. Rates lower than 15 percent have been reported for Holland, Sweden, Austria and Norway. However the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed in 2008 that Australia had a very high medical intervention rate of 31 percent. Engaging the services of a doula can reduce those horrific statistics. The most important thing every pregnant woman needs to know is that she has choices. She has choices about where she is going to birth and who will be her caregiver. If you do choose a doula, it’s best to meet her early in your pregnancy as possible, preferably after 12 weeks. But remember, it is never too late to make this.
Shape – 01 March, 2012