Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Want a natural birth? Don't just hire a doula!

I'm about to be really transparent. Ready? Here it goes. After calculating doula birth stats today, I discovered something that I began to suspect about a year and a half ago. 

Hypothesis: My clients who take a comprehensive independent childbirth education course are more likely to achieve their desired results. 

Is it fool-proof? No. Are the results pretty amazing? Yes. 

Conclusion: It is not enough to just hire a doula. A comprehensive childbirth education class is a must!

Doulas are great. I love doulas. I am a doula! But I will go ahead and admit it. I am not all you need for a satisfying birth experience. I'm a pretty cool, pretty awesome, good-at-my-job doula, but I can't impart all of the knowledge and preparation learned in a childbirth education course in our prenatal visits. I can send link after link, article after article, study after study, and I can talk A LOT about birth, but I can't force you to read them. However, there is something to be said about devoting 2 hours a pop for 10 weeks on birth preparation. I spend around 6 hours with you during your 3 prenatal visits discussing exactly what it is that you want from your birth experience, how I can help you as your doula, going over techniques for helping your birth go as smoothly as reasonably possible, and just getting to know you, your hopes, and your concerns. That's pretty far from at LEAST 20 hours worth of education received in an independent childbirth class.

What is an independent childbirth class? It is a class not affiliated with a hospital. These include classes such as Birth Boot Camp, Bradley, Hypnobirthing, Hypnobabies, and many others. 

Without further ado, here are some numbers:

Total Doula Stats:

Natural*: 56%

Medicated Vaginal**: 28%

Cesarean: 16%

*Natural birth includes those moms who may have been induced but did not receive pain medications

**Women who received pain medications

Those who took an independent or out-of-hospital (OOH) childbirth class:

Natural: 90%

Medicated Vaginal: 10%

Cesarean: 0% 

Those who took a hospital-based or took NO childbirth class:

*12% took a hospital class, the rest took no class

Natural: 33%

Medicated Vaginal: 40%

Cesarean: 27%

How many clients took childbirth classes?

Independent classes: 40%

No classes: 52%

Hospital-based classes: 8%

A few things to mention:

Not all of my clients were planning natural births. Some of them were planning to receive epidurals. It probably goes without saying, but those who were planning natural births were more likely to take an independent childbirth class. 

I started teaching Birth Boot Camp classes because I could see the value of childbirth education. It's so important! Doulas are very helpful, and when you are in the heat of the moment, it is important to have someone there to help you remember all the things you learned in your childbirth class. That is who your doula is, a walking, talking, childbirth encyclopedia. A doula helps you carry out all of those comfort measures you learned in class. She knows exactly when to use them. She is there to remind you that what you are experiencing is normal even though it may NOT have been covered in your childbirth class. She is there to support you no matter what course your birth takes. She helps your partner to shine! She is a calming presence for other members of your birth team who did not take those many hours of birth classes with you, who may not be very experienced in birth. But don't leave it all up to your doula! Invest in yourself. Invest in your birth. If you want a natural childbirth, commit to it! Take an amazing, comprehensive childbirth class. 

Sign up today. Shoot me an email at: with the message, "Sign me up!" 

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