Doula’s for Pain Management: We Can Help You
Doula’s for Pain Management: We Can Help You
Throughout history, women have been supporting women in life and in childbirth. We can look back thousands of years and reflect on historic and even prehistoric accounts of these types of support. So it's not really a surprise when we see current science based studies and evidence that show women who have had support during childbirth, in the form of a birth doula, likely have a better response to pain management and pain tolerance during labor.
Research shows that women not only value, but benefit from the presence of doula support during labor. This support comes in many forms. We will tell you a few ways using a birth doula can provide pain relief and management during childbirth.
Let’s start with the beginning. Mama, you are on the journey of a lifetime, pregnancy is new to you and you are trying to gain as much information as possible to ease you on this path. Or say you are having your second or third child and you want to try something new, and learn from your previous experiences in childbirth so you are seeking information for what’s to come. Childbirth education is the beginning way a doula can help a mama decrease pain. While we are not medical professionals, we are vast in our knowledge of childbirth education, information, prenatal care, health and wellness and pregnancy. Once we initially become your doula we will educate you and address your fears, which are totally normal, about what is to come. We will begin to show you coping techniques like breathing, positioning, relaxation and movements to help address those fears and process the progression of your pregnancy and how your body will be during childbirth. Focusing on breathing for a moment, we see a neuroscience study of how women with doulas were able to use controlled relaxation breathing techniques to achieve pain reduction of 20-45% during labor, and when comparing that to standard care, is pretty significant. (https://neurosciencebaby.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/everything-you-need-to-know-about-relaxation-in-labour-why-it-is-useful-and-how-to-achieve-it/)
Controlled breathing is just one way a doula can help relieve pain, there are so many others!
Emotional Support: before, during and after
Let’s talk emotions. During your pregnancy you will be a roller coaster of emotions, and that is completely normal. As we near the date of your labor, those emotions can get heightened with what is to come, so much so that on the day labor starts you may be feeling overwhelmed and that is where a doula comes in. We will have already established a prenatal connection with you, we know your wishes, we know your birth plan, we are there for you. The stress of arriving at the hospital can often increase the anticipation of the pain of childbirth. We will be your emotional support that helps you manage your pain during this time. We will work to decrease stress in your hospital room, we will be near you reassuring you that you are strong and you are safe and you can do this. We will encourage you and praise you because this mama, is what your body was made for. Studies have shown that doulas help facilitate the release of oxytocin, the “love” hormone during labor, by using her presence as a means to calm the mother and inevitably decrease stress, fear, and anxiety and allow for effectiveness during uterine contractions. With this emotional support a mother will view the pain of her contractions as manageable and be better able to cope and progress during them.
Physical Support during painful labor
As birth doulas, we are trained to provide you with physical support during your labor. Our goal is to make you feel safe and as comfortable as possible so that we can help you have the labor you want. Studies show that physical support from a doula during labor can make pain more manageable using different forms of physical support. (https://www.cochrane.org/CD003766/PREG_continuous-support-women-during-childbirth)
We will use coping techniques and comfort measures like; calming touch, massage, movement, encouraging mobility, warm bath/shower, promoting fluid intake and physical support in the form of counter pressure and hip squeezing to help you manage pain through the different stages of labor. Or it could be simple comfort measures, helping with nausea, fanning you, helping with pillows, or whatever you need to progress through labor.
Advocate for you Mama
We as doulas are advocates for you mama. And by advocating for your health and well being during labor, we can help you manage your pain. While we generally don’t speak for you, we provide information, support and encouragement so you, or your loved one can speak up for what you want and need during labor. An example of this might be when you are coping, you are progressing normally and advancing in the stages of your labor and your care provider is suggesting you get back into bed, we could educate and help you facilitate a way to communicate that you wish to continue progressing as you are. Doula advocacy helps with pain management because it is empowering to be supported by someone who has no other agenda other than to completely support you during your labor. Some studies have shown lack of continuous support and personal advocacy during childbirth have led to concerns that the experience of labor and birth has become dehumanised. Modern obstetric care frequently means women are required to experience institutional routines. These routines may have adverse effects on the quality, outcome and experience of care during labor and childbirth. (https://www.cochrane.org/CD003766/PREG_continuous-support-women-during-childbirth)
Having a doula’s support during labor may enhance a woman's feelings of control and confidence in her own strength and body, thus improving the physiological labor processes. This support may reduce the need for obstetric intervention and also improve the mamas labor experience.
The possibilities are endless, and do you know the greatest part of doula support, we are here for YOU. No conditions, no agenda, just us using our training and education to help you manage your pain, progress in labor, and have an incredible birth that is true and unique to you.
Interested in having us support your birth experience? Contact us today!
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