Doula Stats: A 2012 Update
As in years past, it’s time for me to update my personal doula stats–i.e. the stats I’ve compiled for all of the births that I have attended as a doula.
Since I began practicing in January 2009, I’ve attended 22 births and welcomed 24 doula babies. This year alone (and with a baby of my own at home) I attended three births. Every single birth has been beautiful, and each one has taught me something: has given me a deeper appreciation for women’s strength, has increased my respect for the power and unpredictability of the birth process, has made me grateful that I get to do this work.
Before the “big reveal,” it’s important to note that with such a small sample population–and with an obviously self-selecting group–there’s really nothing scientifically or statistically significant about this information.* But this doesn’t mean that it isn’t meaningful, even if its meaningfulness is only personal.
My personal doula client stats (including all 22 births and 24 babies**)
Vacuum extraction: 4% (used once, but not successful)
Narcotic pain medication: 5%
Pitocin augmentation: 14%
Artificial rupture of membranes (amniotomy): 36%
Continuous monitoring: 36%
VBAC rate (rate of vaginal births during a planned VBAC): 80%
Eleven Unique Things I’ve Seen and Done as a Doula
- I was hugged by one “doula baby” during her baby brother’s postpartum visit. Talk about double the love from a repeat client!
- A twin birth in which baby A was born vaginally and baby B was born via cesarean.
- A vaginal double-footling breech delivery–and with a nuchal arm too! (This was baby B during a different twin birth.)
- A uterine rupture during an attempted VBAC. Thankfully, both mom and baby were healthy.
- Seven births where I’ve been pregnant, ranging from four weeks pregnant (and just hours after I got a positive pregnancy test result!) to twenty-four weeks.
- Seven (out of 22) precipitous births (or labors that last three hours or less). WOW.
- A “true knot” in the cord. Thankfully, this caused no problems for the baby.
- An external cephalic version (or manual rotation of a breech baby). And it was successful!
- Two very intense third stages (when the placenta is delivered). Both of them were instances in which intervention became truly necessary.
- An 11 lb. 10 oz. baby born vaginally–and the mom had an in-tact perineum too!
- A baby born in the car on the way to the hospital after a very short labor–and a VBAC no less!
Average birth weight: 7 lbs. 7 oz. (with weights ranging from 3 lbs. 15 oz. to 11 lbs. 10 oz.)
Average length of gestation when born: 39 weeks, 3 days (with gestational lengths ranging from 34w 5d to 41w 4d)
Average length of labor: 10 hours (with labor lengths ranging from just shy of 2 hours to 33 hours)
*Just because these numbers here aren’t statistically meaningful doesn’t mean that doula support isn’t meaningful or beneficial! You need to look no further than the Cochrane Review of continuous support during labor to discover this:
“Women who received continuous labour support were more likely to give birth ‘spontaneously’, i.e. give birth with neither caesarean nor vacuum nor forceps. In addition, women were less likely to use pain medications, were more likely to be satisfied, and had slightly shorter labours. Their babies were less likely to have low 5-minute Apgar Scores. No adverse effects were identified. We conclude that all women should have continuous support during labour. Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman’s social network, is experienced in providing labour support, and has at least a modest amount of training, appears to be most beneficial.”
**Don’t get ahead of yourself–there is no way to tell from the information I’ve provided here which interventions or outcomes occurred alongside one another.