May is International Doula Month and you may have read our previous articles about the benefits of having a trained support person with you and your family when you give birth but allow me to give you some stats to back up that claim.
Currently in B.C.:
- 17 per cent of first time moms in B.C. have instrumental deliveries, meaning the use of a vacuum or forceps,
- 22 per cent of women are induced, that rate goes up to 27 per cent for first-time moms, and it’s 1.3 times more likely for rural moms. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the rate be 10 per cent and
- 33 per cent of babies are delivered by C-section. WHO recommends rates of 10 to 15 per cent.
While only one-third of those are planned, inducing labour nearly doubles the odds of having a C-section and first-time moms are at even higher risk. Epidurals also increase the chance.
Our maternal and neonatal mortality rates, incidentally, have remained the same, on par with countries whose C-section rates are 15 per cent.
In addition to this, women in rural areas, which now include the Boundary area, are 7.4 times more likely to experience moderate to severe stress when compared to women who have local maternity services.
Some of the big factors for this include financial issues, lack of continuity of care and the inability of family to provide support because of travel.
Studies have shown that women cared for during labour by a birth doula, compared to those receiving usual care, were:
- 26 per cent less likely to give birth by cesarean section,
- 41 per cent less likely to give birth with a vacuum extractor or forceps,
- 28 per cent less likely to use any analgesia or anesthesia and
- 33 per cent less likely to be dissatisfied or negatively rate their birth experience.
Plus, your doula is devoted solely to you in the time surrounding your due date, providing continuous support before, during, and after the birth, traveling with you to the birth destination of your choice, to ensure that at no time do you and your family go without the support you need.
Most doulas also charge on a sliding scale, as well as participate in programs that offer volunteer services for those in need. The decision of whether or not to have a doula should not be a financial one.
For more information or to contact your local doulas, please visit DONA.org or kootenaydoulagroup.org.
– Kristy Zamec is a certified doula through DONA International