CHILDBIRTH DOULA SERVICES
WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF A DOULA?
Doulas “mother the mother.”
WHILE PERFORMING HER ROLE, A DOULA:
- Provides emotional support
- Uses comfort measures: breathing, relaxation, movement, positioning
- Gives information
- Continuously reassures and comforts the mother (the key word is continuous—a doula never leaves the mother’s side)
- Helps a mother become informed about various birth choices
- Helps facilitate communication between the mother and care provider
- Looks after your partner as well (gives them bathroom breaks!), but their primary responsibility is to the mother
WHAT THE STUDIES SAY
In 2012, Hodnett et al. published an updated Cochrane review on the use of continuous support for women during childbirth. They pooled the results of 22 trials that included more than 15,000 women. These women were randomized to either receive continuous, one-on-one support during labor or “usual care.”
Klaus, Kennell and Klaus reported in their book Mothering the Mother that having a doula present at birth reduces the length of labor by 25%, results in 30% less use of pain medication, 40% less need for forceps and a 50% reduce cesarean birth rate.
Melissa Tomko is a trained birth doula serving the greater Philadelphia area. As the mother of four young children, she has personally experienced a variety of birth scenarios. The sum of her experiences led to a passion for helping other women feel empowered and supported in pregnancy and childbirth. Melissa believes that the natural physiological process of birth works, but she couples that with a high respect for the medical field and what it can provide for a woman during pregnancy and birth should she want or need it. Beyond that, Melissa recognizes that birth is an emotional process as well as a physical one and the way the mother feels about her birth lasts far beyond delivery. She is also passionate about good health and self care, especially as they pertain to physical and emotional health in pregnancy and postpartum.