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A Doula is a trained professional who guides and supports families during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum care of the newborn and birthing person. A doula might specialize in birth support, postpartum care, or both. Doulas receive training about emotions and mental health, and in many communities they can help birthing individuals find additional resources for mental health needs during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. The goal of the doula is to help families feel supported and informed throughout pregnancy, postpartum, and after loss.
Objective: Postpartum depression is a common feature of childbearing and is the cause of considerable morbidity. We have explored the possibility that clinically oriented care during labor may contribute to its occurrence.
Study design: Of 189 nulliparous women laboring in a familiar community hospital, 92 were allocated by randomized, sealed envelopes to receive additional companionship from one of three volunteer labor companions recruited from the community.
Results: The group receiving support attained higher self-esteem scores and lower postpartum depression and anxiety ratings 6 weeks after delivery.
Conclusion: In the clinical labor environment companionship modifies factors that contribute to the development of postnatal depression. We emphasize the importance of paying attention to the psychosocial environment in which labor takes place, to facilitate adaptation to parenthood.
"The process of becoming a mother generally marks a wonderful event that encompasses discovery, learning, and a positive worthwhile experience; some women, however, find the transition into motherhood defined by fatigue, frustration, and emotional turmoil. Feelings of loss of control and emotional distress not only affect the mother, but have known adverse effects for the infant as well (Stapleton et al., 2012), for instance, negative birth outcomes, poor mother-infant bonding, and long-term consequences for the child."
"Question: What is the evidence on doulas?
Answer: There have been 26 randomized trials that tested the effects of continuous labor support on more than 15,000 people giving birth. Overall, people who receive continuous support are more likely to have a normal vaginal birth and less likely to have pain medication, negative feelings about childbirth, and Cesareans. In addition, their labors are shorter and their babies are less likely to have complications at birth."
"The period soon after childbirth poses substantial health risks for both mother and newborn infant. Yet the postpartum and postnatal period receives less attention from health care providers than pregnancy and childbirth. Models of postpartum and postnatal care have changed little since first developed a century ago. The World Health Organization (WHO) is in the process of revising and updating its guidance on postpartum and postnatal care delivered by skilled providers. The purposes of revision are to encourage and support broader provision of care and to foster a new, woman-centred concept of care that promotes health as well as maintains vigilance against dangerous complications. In October 2008 an expert consultation took place in Geneva to advise WHO on the coverage, form and content for revised and updated guidance. This meeting, which is documented here, prepared for an upcoming technical consultation to develop the guidance itself."
"The results of the study showed that doula's presence has positive significant effects on labor pain and anxiety reduction; also, doula-supported mothers reported considerably lower pain and anxiety compared with those experiencing physiological delivery (without doula). Thus, the increased use of doula in hospitals all over the country is recommended."
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*Pine Laurel Wellness, LLC, Jennifer Herman, and PLW support practitioners do not diagnose or treat disease. We follow the foundations of a healthy body and mind to support you back into a state of balance.