Karla Costner is a wife, mama of six, (yes, you read that right!) and a cofounder of one of our favorite mama-lovin’ organizations, Well Nested. You may remember reading about her as one of our Moms of the Month in October! Karla is a doula and we wanted her to share with our dear readers why doulas are so important to us at Your Milk Shoppe and to women everywhere!
When I consult with potential clients, I am almost always asked what exactly it is that a doula does. I usually give a very generic description with the understanding that the meeting can’t go on for hours (though a few have).
So, I want to take some time to elaborate on just what a doula does and how important our work is, not only to natural birthers, but to all birthing women.
Doulas are servants, with a special knowledge of birth, the body, and babies. We are students of life. Doulas rock and sway with the dance of birth. We demonstrate and explain. Sometimes we smile and give a nod of affirmation. If medical intervention is necessary, we assure you that you have chosen the most wise and skilled care providers.
Photo credit: Jen Conway Photography
We soothe sore muscles and calm shaky nerves. Sometimes we squeeze hips, wipe foreheads and hold hands. We remind you of your goals and help you overcome your fears. Doulas ask questions, search for answers, and truly care about the experience of birth. Doulas understand that birth transforms a woman into a warrior. We know this metamorphosis is life changing and we want that change to be full of love. Doulas know you are powerful and your body is wise.
Studies show that doulas change birth outcomes for the better! Rebecca Dekker PhD, RN, APRN, over at Evidence Based Birth, summarizes the study:
“Overall, women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth.” (You can read the entire article here!)
Now, it seems to me that every woman needs a doula, but many women simply do not know that we exist! That paradigm is shifting and hiring a doula is becoming just as important as the latest trendy stroller. Doula clients are measuring the value of support to be worthy of the cost. Insurance companies are beginning to cover doula services and care providers are encouraging support. My hope is that doula support becomes standard care for birthing mothers in the U.S.
In the upstate, women are blessed to have such a wide variety of experienced, professional doulas. We would love the opportunity to serve you and the women in our community! If you are pregnant, consider hiring a doula…we make birth better.