Statistics on Birth Doulas

“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”

~ John Kennel

Below is an excerpt taken from the Evidence Based Birth website about the statistics in supported birth outcomes.

  • 25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean; the largest effect was seen with a doula with a 39% decrease
  • 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth; the largest effect was seen with a doula at a 15% increase
  • 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
  • Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average
  • 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five-minute Apgar score
  • 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience; mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was reduced with continuous support provided by a doula or someone in their social network (family or friend), but not hospital staff

As you can see by these numbers, in nearly every aspect of birth, it matters if the birther is alone or supported. When the doula is present, it’s not just the birther that has someone there for them, but also the partner has support243-+. They can take a nap and rest up for the more intense periods and know that their loved one is being taken care of. The birther is never left alone, since either their partner or the doula, or both will be there to provide comfort measures and reassurance when the contractions are intense, or if they need reminding that they’re doing a wonderful job, or someone who has their back when there’s something that isn’t in line with their ideal birth scenarios. The partner has reassurance when the birther is dealing with the tougher contractions, and they’re guided on how to provide comfort to the birther. If they’re prepared ahead of time for the things that may come up, and they’ve made these decisions, and know the options available, the risks and benefits of each of them, then they’re not likely to be bullied or coerced into something they don’t want.

Hiring a doula earlier in the pregnancy means they have the opportunity to work with the family with understanding birth choices, providing them with evidence-based research on practices and outcomes. The doulas have the ability to truly get to know the family they’re serving and can provide quality care that suits their wants, needs and personalities. Doulas can assist with preparation for their first prenatal appointment, can help them with the ins and outs of each milestone in pregnancy, and help with understanding the procedures and interventions, the augmentations and assisting tools with labor, birth, and initial postpartum period.

Hiring a doula late in pregnancy or even just before birth will still provide the birther and other support team members with someone who complements their birth style and ideal scenarios, the ability to give continuous care and comfort to the birther, and to provide reassurance and comfort to the partner as they support their loved one. Though there isn’t quite as much time to provide the family with all the information they may find useful, the doula is still able to give evidence-based support, and to trust in the birth, the ability of the laboring parent, and give great guidance to the partner.

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