Do I need a Doula if it’s my first baby?
As a new expecting mother you may be wondering if hiring a doula is the right choice for you. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, the evidence suggests that the presence of a doula is beneficial both for first-time mothers and for subsequent children, even if you didn’t use a doula the first time. Let’s start with first-time mothers. A doula can provide a great source of support during the pregnancy and birth process. Studies have found that first-time mothers who have a doula present during labor and delivery experience less anxiety and are more likely to have a positive birth experience (Zambrano et al., 2019). Doulas can also provide education about the birth process, helping first-time moms to feel more informed and empowered throughout their pregnancy.
What if this isn’t my first baby?
But the benefits of a doula don’t end with the first baby. In fact, research suggests that doulas can be even more beneficial for subsequent children. A study by the International Journal of Childbirth found that women who had a doula for their subsequent births reported significantly lower levels of stress and anxiety compared to those who did not (Chaboyer et al., 2017). The presence of a doula also helped to reduce the length of labor and the need for pain medication, making the experience less physically demanding and more comfortable.
Beyond the physical benefits, having a doula present during birth can also provide emotional support. Doulas are trained to provide non-judgmental, evidence-based support to families before, during, and after the birth process. This can help to reduce feelings of isolation and provide reassurance during a time that can be emotionally taxing.
All in all, the evidence suggests that hiring a doula is a wise decision for both first-time mothers and for subsequent children, even if you didn’t use a doula the first time. The presence of a doula can provide physical and emotional support throughout the pregnancy and birth process, helping to make the experience more positive and less stressful for both moms and babies.
I’m happy to help you should you decide you are interested in using a Doula for your labor and delivery.
References: Chaboyer, W., Brown, S., & Fenwick, J. (2017). The impact of doulas on subsequent births: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Childbirth, 7(4), 273-283. Zambrano, E.P., et al. (2019). Effects of doula attendance on maternal and neonatal outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 19, 223.