March 22nd through March 28th, 2017 is World Doula Week and Lamaze International along with Science & Sensibility recognize the benefits and contributions that birth and postpartum doulas provide in support of families around the world every day.
The research has been solid and consistent since 1991 when Drs. John Kennell and Marshall Klaus first published "Continuous emotional support during labor in a US hospital. A randomized controlled trial." Labors are shorter, interventions are reduced, parents are more satisfied and babies are more stable when there is a doula present at the birth. Since then, many more papers have been published that support these original findings.
I have been delighted to see that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated in two recent groundbreaking committee opinions that doulas are recommended as they improve outcomes and reduce interventions. "The Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery" in 2014, and the just released "Approaches to Limit Interventions During Labor and Birth" both clearly and without hesitation recommend the presence of doulas at births.
Science & Sensibility has covered the topic of doulas many times and now is a great time to consider skimming over some of the articles. Consider some of the suggestions for how you might cover the topic of doulas and professional labor and postpartum support in your classes so families can understand the significant benefits they could receive.
Doula referral sources for your students
DONA International Find A Doula Database - International database of certified doulas
DoulaMatch - doula database for USA and Canada with doula availability
What do you do in your childbirth classes and with your patients to help families to understand the how a birth or postpartum doula can help make the childbearing year better? Do you share the ACOG recommendations of a doula to reduce the primary cesarean and limit labor interventions? Please share in the comments section.
Caughey AB, Cahill AG, Guise JM, Rouse DJ. (2014). Safe Prevention of the primary cesarean delivery. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists & Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Am J Obstet Gynecol 210(3):179-193.
Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub5.
Kennell J, Klaus M, McGrath S, Robertson S, Hinkley C. Continuous emotional support during labor in a US hospital. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 1991;265:2197–201.
Wharton KR, Ecker JL, Wax JR. (2017). Approaches to limit intervention during labor and birth. Committee Opinion No. 687. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 129:e20-28.