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What are the risks associated with not having the support of a doula.


 


Choosing not to book the support of a doula during childbirth and the postnatal period can have several potential risks and disadvantages. Here are some key points to consider:


1. Reduced Emotional Support

  • Lack of Continuous Support: Doulas provide continuity of care throughout the antenatal period, continuous emotional and physical support throughout labour as well as providing practical informative information in the postnatal period which can be reassuring and comforting to both the person giving birth and their partner. Without a doula, you might miss out on this consistent presence.

  • Stress and Anxiety: The absence of a familiar support person can increase stress and anxiety for both the birthing person and their partner, potentially impacting their overall experience.

2. Limited Advocacy

  • Communication with Medical Staff: Doulas often help communicate your birth preferences to the medical team and ensure your wishes are respected. Without a doula, there might be a gap in advocacy, leading to potential misunderstandings or feeling less heard.

  • Informed Decision Making: Doulas provide information and support to help you make informed decisions during labour. Without their guidance, you might feel less confident or less informed about your choices.

3. Potential for Increased Medical Interventions

  • Studies and Evidence: Research suggests that continuous support from a doula can reduce the likelihood of interventions such as cesarean sections, epidurals, and the use of forceps or vacuum extraction. Without a doula, there might be a higher risk of such interventions .

4. Physical Comfort Measures

  • Pain Management: Many doulas are trained in various non-pharmacological pain relief techniques, such as massage, positioning, biomechanics and breathing exercises. Without a doula, you may not utilise these methods as effectively.

  • Comfort and Endurance: Labour can be physically demanding, and doulas provide techniques and support to help manage exhaustion and discomfort. Without this help, the physical toll of labour may be harder.

5. Impact on Partner’s Experience

  • Partner Support: Doulas also support the birth partner, helping them feel more involved and less stressed. Without a doula, partners might feel more anxious or uncertain about how to best provide support.

  • Shared Responsibility: A doula shares the responsibility of support, allowing the partner to take breaks and manage their own needs. Without this assistance, partners might become overwhelmed and exhausted.

6. Lack of Postnatal Support

  • Immediate Postnatal Period: Doulas often provide immediate postnatal support, helping with the transition to parenthood, feeding, general newborn care, local professional resources and light household duties. Without this support, the early postnatal period might be more challenging.

Conclusion

While many people have positive birth and postnatal experiences without a doula, having a doula can significantly enhance emotional support, reduce stress, decrease the likelihood of medical interventions, and improve overall satisfaction with the birth experience. Postnatally a doula will enable you to grow in confidence while you navigate your parenting journey by providing non biased, updated evidence based information.


References:

  1. McGrath, S. K., & Kennell, J. H. (2008). A randomised controlled trial of continuous labor support for middle-class couples: Effect on cesarean delivery rates. Birth (Berkeley, Calif.), 35(2), 92–97.

  2. Bohren, M. A., Hofmeyr, G. J., Sakala, C., Fukuzawa, R. K., & Cuthbert, A. (2017). Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (7).


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