Who will support you during your labour?
An important factor in creating a positive birth experience is support during labour. Not only do you need to feel safe in your birthing environment, you need to have support around you.
Your partner or chosen birth companion will play a very important role in helping you feel safe, loved and nurtured during labour. A loving partner or birth companion is one of the most beneficial tools to have with you during your labour. As well, the loving supportive interactions between you and your partner during labour can create the happy hormone oxytocin which provides natural pain relief. However partners can often feel unprepared, overwhelmed and frightened by labour and birth. If that is the case consider having another professional birth companion with you during labour such as a midwife or Doula.
Women often seek out other women to be with them during labour, especially women who have also given birth so that they can act as a guide, nurturer or source of inspiration. If you are wanting a natural birth then having a trained birth support person such as a Doula is incredibly beneficial as they will help you work with your body and help you to stay on track, particularly when you get tired or emotional or you are finding labour difficult.
The World Health Organization and data taken from various medical and cultural studies from around the world highlight the benefits of having an experienced and trained support person present at your labour:
- It can shorten the length of your labour by 25%.
- It can reduce the possibility of you having a caesarean section by 51%, reduction in you needing analgesia (medical pain relief) by 35%, reduction in the use of forceps to help birth your baby by 57% and a reduction in augmentation (using methods to keep labour progressing) by 71%.
- Studies have shown that mothers who use a birth attendant or doula have a lower incidence of postpartum depression, breastfeed longer and are more closely bonded with their babies.