The Benefits of a Doula & Why I Think Every Pregnant Person Should Have Access to One
Did you know that women supported by a doula during childbirth are less likely to need pain medications or require a c-section?
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Ever wondered what the benefits of hiring a doula are? If so, keep reading! Or, better yet, press play because I am about to fill you in on a little secret that could change the outcome of your birth story!
Benefits of a Doula
Did you know that women supported by a doula during labor and childbirth are less likely to need pain medications or require c-sections? In fact, according to a study published by the Cochrane Review, Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth, women supported by a doula are also more likely to have had a positive birth experience and endure shorter labors. While more research needs to be conducted, the study concluded that “continuous doula support during labour may improve outcomes for women and infants!”
This is especially comforting news when you consider the alarming fact that the United States has one of the highest rate of maternal deaths among high-income countries! In fact, a recent study published by the Commonwealth Fund, found that in 2020, the US maternal mortality rate was 23.8 deaths per 100,000, more than triple the rate of any other country studied!
Even more alarming and saddening is the fact that Black women in the United States are nearly three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women! This, shares The Century Foundation, is primarily due “to systemic racism and discrimination at the individual level, Black women and birthing people face unacceptable (and mostly preventable) risk during childbirth and throughout and after pregnancy.”
This is unacceptable and, as my guest today, Mabel Bashorun, certified doula (DONA), Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and a certified lactation consultant (who also currently happens to be pursuing a career in nurse-midwifery), tells me, “it’s a shame, it’s a disgrace, and it’s a huge stain on the American healthcare system!”
Why Mabel Became a Doula
In 2017, Mabel launched Within Her Birth Services with the mission to support and advocate for other women throughout their pregnancy and labor experience. As a Ghanian-American, Mabel takes great pride in serving fellow Black women during pregnancy, with the personal aim to ensure they do not succumb to the maternal mortality crisis that continues to plague the Black community today.
In today’s episode Mabel and I chat about the benefits of hiring a doula, the differences between a doula and a midwife, why she thinks all women should have access to a doula (regardless of budget), the importance of education, how to advocate for yourself and your birth preferences, the challenges facing Black mothers in the US today, my birth story and how she supported me (because yes, Mabel also happens to have been my doula! :)), and so much more!
Have you ever worked with a doula? If so, tell me a bit about your experience in the comment section below!
For more information on the maternal mortality crisis and how you can get involved check out:
- Mom Congress
- Black Maternal Health Week
- Black Maternal Health Momnibus
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
- U.S. Maternal Mortality Within a Global Context: Historical Trends, Current State, and Future Directions
Regine A. Douthard, Iman K. Martin, Theresa Chapple-McGruder, Ana Langer, and Soju Chang
Journal of Women’s Health 2021 30:2, 168-177
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