There are few events in a family’s life important as the birth of a new baby! Now that you are pregnant, what will you remember about this time? What will your memories be of your labor and baby’s birth…of the postpartum time with your newborn?

Securing the services of a certified doula can help ensure a positive birth experience for expectant parents. A doula is a non-medical professional who enhances childbirth for the mother and her primary partner through knowledge, compassion and support. The doula is keenly aware that childbirth is a key experience the mother will remember all of her life. Thus, the primary role of the doula is to nurture and protect the woman’s birth memories.

A Doula:

* Meets prenatally with the expectant mom and her primary partner to discuss birth plans/preferences.
* Provides physical, emotional and informational support for the entire labor and birth.
* Helps with comfort measures such as massage, water therapy and labor positions to encourage progress and increase comfort. * Assists with coping techniques and reinforces skills learned in childbirth classes.
* Offers continuous encouragement, guidance and an objective view point to the mother, father/partner and other family members attending the birth.
* Encourages and assists with breastfeeding within one hour of birth, if desired.
* Visits new family within two to four weeks after the birth.

The most significant benefit of a doula is quite simply peace of mind. Having an experienced and caring person with you continuously to meet the needs of the family is a wonderful comfort. It reduces some of the anxiety and stress surrounding labor and birth and thus allows the family to focus on each other during this very special time. Current research shows that doula-attended births often result in:
*Shorter labors
*Fewer complications
*Reduced need for pain medications and epidurals
*Less need for forceps/vacuum extractor assisted deliveries
*Fewer cesarean deliveries *Decreased incidence of postpartum depression
*Increase in maternal self-esteem and satisfaction with her birth experience
*Greater confidence and participation of father/partner
*Improved bonding of both mother and father to each other and to their new baby
*Increased success with breastfeeding

Research data: Position Paper, www.DONA.org

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Contact: familylifecenter1@yahoo or call 507-347-3229.