A doula will meet with the parent(s) in the second or third trimester of pregnancy to get acquainted, obtain a history of the pregnancy, and learn about prior births, expectations, wishes, and needs. She will help clients develop a realistic birthing plan and offer information on labor and delivery, as well as instructions in relaxation, breathing and visualization. During the actual delivery, the doula provides continuous relief, comfort, and encouragement for the mother and partner. Following the baby's arrival, the doula will help with breastfeeding and infant care information, and provide follow-up support for new parents with postpartum visits.
CHRISTUS St. Vincent certified doulas are trained in prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum support. Doulas specialize in assisting parents to have an emotionally and spiritually satisfying birth experience. They do not provide clinical/medical services.
Medical research in the United States and Central America has shown that women who use a doula have:
- Approximately 50 percent fewer cesareans (C-sections)
- Approximately 40 percent fewer epidurals (pain relief)
- On average, a 25 percent shorter labor
- Reported less pain
- Greater success with breastfeeding
- An enhanced bonding experience with their new baby
Since the beginning of the CHRISTUS St. Vincent Doula Care Services program in March 2000, birthing women who have been assisted by doulas have had similar positive results.
For more information about the program and fees, call (505) 913-5793.