Women Supporting Women
Women have been supporting each other in labor as long as women have been giving birth: a long, long time. These women supporting women over millennia have sometimes been our friends, sisters, mothers, midwives. Women realize intuitively that when they are in labor the presence of another woman is comforting and supportive and helps them cope better. In fact, research has shown just having a woman present with you throughout your labor reduces the amount of pain you feel, the need for pain medication and epidurals, reduces interventions like vacuum and forcep extractions and cesarean births, and helps you have an overall more satisfying birth experience. (Hodnett et al., 2007). It is amazing and simple, but very true. As women, we can relate to each other well in labor and do not need any special training as long as we are there to be supportive we can make a big impact on helping each other to have a more positive and empowering birth experience! Women's Circle Nurse-Midwives encourages you to invite a female support person to be with you throughout your labor. Of course, fathers are especially welcome and encouraged to be an active part of the birth team. Sometimes, fathers feel overwhelmed with the intensity of labor and appreciate having another support person available to take over when they need a break or to provide reassurance. Although, having too many people in the room during your labor can be distracting and stressful and is discouraged. Pick your birth team wisely: Include people that are going to be positive and supportive and it is best not to have more than two or three people with you.
A Doula is a person who is professionally trained to provide support and comfort to you and your partner throughout labor and birth. Labor and contractions are normal to her and she is well trained to help you cope using different positions, encouraging you, and helping you relax so you are more comfortable during the process. During your labor and birth process, a Doula can help remind you that what is happening is normal and natural and be very reassuring. She will support your choices in labor and try to provide accurate information so you can make informed decisions. A Doula does not provide medical or nursing tasks, but is available to support you emotionally and physically and can help you make sense of what is happening during your labor and birth process. A Doula can help provide reassurance and support to your partner that labor is happening as it should. A Doula is usually another woman who will provide continuous support to you during labor and therefore offers great benefit in reducing the pain you feel, the need for medications, and decreases the likelihood of interventions such as vacuum extraction and cesarean section delivery. A Doula will usually stay with you until after the birth, help you process and remember your experience, make sure you are comfortable and that breastfeeding is off to a good start.
The Nurse-midwives at Women's Circle will make every effort to be with you as much as possible during your labor and birth experience but realize we may not be able to be with you continuously and encourage you to have a female support person with you throughout labor whether it be a friend, loved one or a Doula as it will greatly benefit you, your partner and overall experience!