Doulas Enhance the Labor Experience
At Sky Ridge we are family friendly, honoring choices, and that includes embracing a holistic birth experience with doulas.
“Doulas are professional labor support people. Our care begins months before the due date and extends post-partum,” said Rebekah Meurer, certified Doula of eight years, Childbirth Educator at Sky Ridge and Reiki Master.
Rebekah, and colleague Stacey Melito, have recently been ranked among the Top 19 of 139 Doulas in Denver based on factors such as response time, resources, labor support and the length of time they have spent in the Doula community (a position that tends to have high turnover).
“Being a Doula is hard work,” laughed Stacey Melito, certified Doula of 16 years, Childbirth Educator at Sky Ridge and founder of Natal to Nest, which provides childbirth classes, birth doula services and in-home lactation consultations to expecting and new families.” When a Doula is contracted, we put our lives on hold to be accessible at all times for at least two weeks prior to the due date and two weeks following the birth. “We are by your side from beginning to end,” Stacey added.
The process begins with an initial interview. Most Doulas are independent contractors, so services can vary greatly. Typically, however, Doulas provide a package of services that includes prenatal visits prior to labor, labor support at the home and hospital, support during birth, assistance with the baby’s first feeding and a postnatal appointment. During labor, the Doula’s role is one of active support: helping with positioning, getting the birth partner involved, advocating for the patient and providing encouragement for the mom through labor.
“We are not the decision makers, but we support, guide, give information and advocate for the family,” Stacey said. “The focus is on the couple and what they want. We aren’t limited to natural birth, either; we often have women who are getting epidurals but want the extra support and comfort of a Doula.”
Doulas are not just appreciated by those delivering, but by birth partners as well.
“We in no way replace a birth partner, but we can really help to take the pressure off,” Rebekah said. “The partner doesn’t have to know exactly what to do, and we are there to help.”
Studies show that the extra level of support Doulas provide can really make a tangible difference: according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, moms with Doulas have reduced rates of C-sections, dissatisfaction and pre-term births (by a whopping 22%); lower medical costs overall; and better APGAR (a test of the baby’s wellbeing after birth) scores. The advantage of a Doula’s emotional support is immeasurable, but invaluable.