Nurturing Families, One Birth at a Time
Nurturing Touch Doula Services has proudly been nurturing families through pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period since 1997. We are pleased to be offering our services in Calgary and the surrounding area.
You've probably landed here because you or someone you love is expecting a baby sometime in the not too distant future. You've likely heard a bit of a buzz about doulas either through friends, co-workers or perhaps at your childbirth classes. Or maybe it was your doctor or midwife who suggested that you and your partner would likely benefit from the services that a birth doula provides. Either way, you've come to the right place!
So what exactly is a doula and how can they help during childbirth? A Birth Doula is someone who guides you and your partner through labour and birth; much the same as a sherpa would guide you to the top of a mountain that you were unfamiliar with. The doula's role is to bring experience to the birth place and to facilitate and enhance the roles of others present in order to assist in creating a positive birth experience for you. DONA International's Position Paper: The Birth Doula's Role in Maternity Care is a very informational piece which explains our role in a lot more detail.
So now that you know what a birth doula is, I want to tell you a bit about how Nurturing Touch can help you. With Nurturing Touch your doula will be there during your pregnancy to assist you with your birth preparations, she will help you to gather information about options and choices and she is there as a gentle guide during labour - providing uninterrupted emotional, physical and informational support. She suggests comfort measures such as positioning, relaxation, and breathing to help your labour progress. She holds space. She walks along side you without judgement. She strives to meet your needs at all times; sometimes even before you recognize them yourself. She provides verbal and emotional encouragement and current information so that you are able to make informed choices regarding any interventions which may be suggested along the way, and she supports any and all choices you make during your labour.
A birth doula can also help your partner to feel comfortable and to become more involved in caring for you. She is an expert in reducing the stress that can come with witnessing a loved one go through such an intense experience. She will guide your partner appropriately to show them how to properly provide comfort measures and will help to keep them informed with the process the whole way through. This can be a big relief for most partners. And if they need a break to grab something to eat, or to take a cat nap, you will be relieved to know that someone you are already familiar with will still be there, continuously at your side.
Our goal at Nurturing Touch is not to help you achieve a medication free birth (unless of course, that is also your goal), but to assist you in having an empowering and memorable birth regardless of which options you choose.
After all, this is your birth.
After the baby is born your doula also acts as a mentor and resource in the early postpartum period, giving a hand with positioning and latch during initial breastfeeding and answering any questions the new parents may have regarding normal newborn behaviour and baby care.
There are many documented studies showing the benefits of having a doula present for your birth. These studies have shown that overall, those 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 labours were shortened and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth. It has also shown that having a doula present can enhance the overall satisfaction of you birth.
In fact, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) have issued a joint statement: Obstetric Care Consensus: Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery says this about the effect of labour support:
“Increasing women’s access to nonmedical interventions during labour, such as continuous labour and delivery support, also has been shown to reduce cesarean birth rates.”
“Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labour and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.”
“…the presence of continuous one-on-one support during labour and delivery was associated with improved patient satisfaction and a statistically significant reduction in the rate of cesarean delivery.”
“Given that there are no associated measurable harms, this resource is probably underutilized.”
To summarize, I will leave you with the following quote by Dr. Kennell, one of the very first scientists to research and investigate the benefits of continuous labour support for birthing women:
“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” – John Kennell, M.D., pediatrician
Tracey is one of Calgary's most experienced doulas and well known birth doulas. Click below for more information.
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