Why Do Some Women Like Meghan Markle Use Doulas for Child Birth?

Doulas have been a part of the pregnancy process for hundreds of years! Women have always supported other women during the pregnancy process, so it’s not surprising that doulas are making a resurgence during more health-conscious times. Even Meghan Markle aka The Duchess of Sussex has been looking to a doula for help during her first pregnancy as well as considering some¬†alternative birth plans to make her first pregnancy experience an unforgettable and natural affair.

What is a doula?

A doula is traditionally defined as an individual without extensive medical training who assists a woman during their pregnancy. This means a doula, also referred to as a birth coach, birth companion, and post-birth supporter can lend their expertise not just before childbirth, but during and after as well. They provide emotional as well as physical support during the birthing process and can even extend their assistance to the rest of the mother’s family.

Now, doulas are defined as trained professionals who aid with the emotional, informational, and physical needs of a mother during all stages of her pregnancy. Their ultimate goal is to help the mother, and her family, have the best experience they can have. One that results in a happy and healthy mother and child. The difference at hand is strides being made in training and accreditation. 

What are the benefits of having a doula?

There have been numerous scientific trials that examine the benefits of having a doula on board before, during, and after childbirth. Trials have shown that doula care improves not just the physical but the psychological outcomes for the mother and child. They also have a positive impact on the well-being of the entire family, something that standard care simply doesn’t provide.

DONA International, the world’s first doula certifying organization, has a page featuring the benefits of hiring a doula. They’ve even created a nifty infographic showing the impact of birth and postpartum doulas.

  • Clinical Benefits
    • There are a long list of clinical benefits including reduced Pitocin use, fewer pain meds, less likely need forceps or vacuum, reduced need for C-section, enhanced Apgar scores, increased satisfaction with the overall experience, and of course better memories.
  • Emotional Support
    • The emotional support provided by a doula is one thing that really makes them stand apart from standard medical professionals. Support benefits include less anxiety, more confidence, increased self-esteem, improved post-partum mental health, and family bonding.
  • Physical Support
    • Doulas help increase a mother/mother-to-be’s movement, promote relaxation and comfort, and even provides lactation support!

Why do women like Meghan Markle use doulas?

Markle and husband of the year, Prince Harry, have already met with the Duchess’ doula several times. With her birth date right around the corner, there is no doubt that the doula will be visiting more frequently, both right before and after the birth. Markle is also considering giving birth at home instead of at St. Mary’s Hospital Lindo Wing. Considering her desire to have a home birth at Frogmore Cottage, it’s not surprising that the royal opted for a doula. Without the modern comforts of a hospital room around her, having an experienced doula will make the experience much more pleasant as well as memorable. 

Women who love the idea of going the natural route can genuinely benefit from having a doula, but that’s not all! Women of color, like Markle, have a history of not getting treated as well as they could be in a hospital selling. By working with a doula, even if she went with a traditional hospital birth, Markle would have someone advocating for her and the well being of her child during the overwhelming experience.