A Birth at a Time is a Birth Doula service in the San Fernando Valley and Greater Los Angeles Area, started by Angela Fabrocini. Angela provides support and care to birthing women and their families either at home, in birthing centers, or in hospital settings. She is a Placenta Encapsulator, Certified Massage Therapist, specializing in Pre-natal Massage, and a student midwife at Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery.
What is a Doula?
The Greek word doula means woman caregiver. We now use the word to describe a trained and experienced labor companion who provides the woman and her husband or partner continuous emotional support, physical comfort and assistance in obtaining information before, during and just after childbirth.
What are the benefits of hiring a Doula?
According to research done by The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2003, there are multiple benefits of using a Doula:
Overall, women who received continuous labor support were less likely to experience:
-Epidural or other regional analgesia
-Any analgesia/anesthesia, including epidurals and opioids
-Birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
-Birth by cesarean
-Dissatisfaction or a negative rating of their experience
Compared to women without continuous support, those who had continuous support from non-hospital caregivers experienced impressive reductions in risk for major abdominal surgery, other interventions, and dissatisfaction. These women were:
-26% less likely to give birth by cesarean section
-41% less likely to give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
-28% less likely to use any analgesia or anesthesia
-38% less likely to be dissatisfied with or negatively rate their birth experience
In addition to the importance of type of caregiver, the reviewers also found that continuous labor support was associated with greater benefits when it:
-began earlier in labor
-was used in settings in which epidural analgesia was not routinely available
-was used in settings in which women were not permitted to be accompanied by companions of choice (such as a partner, friend, or family member)
What are the responsibilities of a Doula before, during, and after birth?
Birth doulas provide support before, during, and right after the birthing process. That includes one to two in-person pre-natal visits, along with phone support during the pregnancy, as needed. Active and continuous support during labor, and then one post-partum visit afterwards. A doula becomes a member of your support system, but is NOT a part of your clinical care providing team. Your doula's number one priority is to ensure that you have the most satisfying and beautiful birth possible, whatever that might look like for each individual birthing mother.
Where can I find more information about Doulas in my area?