The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support before, during and just after birth. In an article published in March 2014, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists concluded: “Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel,such as a doula. A Cochrane meta-analysis of 12 trials and more than 15,000 women demonstrated that the presence of continuous one-on-one support during labor and delivery was associated with improved patient satisfaction and a statistically significant reduction in the rate of cesarean delivery.”
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth…
Tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
Reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps, vacuum extraction, cesarean section
Reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Research shows that parents who receive doula support…
Feel more secure and cared for
Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
Have greater success with breastfeeding
Have greater self-confidence
Have less postpartum depression
Have lower incidence of abuse
In 2008, Giving Austin Labor Support began as a grassroots organization. While working as a Labor and Delivery nurse at Brackenridge hospital, Brigid Dodson saw a need for support and set out to create a program for any one who felt alone, unsupported, or afraid during there childbirth experience. Dodson rallied a group of women involved in the birth world who shared this belief. Carolyn Byrd, Jessica Atkins, Veronica Rice, and others, spent a year meeting in coffee shops and forming what is now known as Giving Austin Labor Support. Soon, the organization grew, became a certified 501©3, and developed a volunteer base of new and experienced doulas giving back to the Austin Community. GALS continues to grow and support more families in Central Texas each year.
Studies have shown that when a birthing individual feels supported during childbirth, they feel empowered and are more confident in their abilities to parent. That is what GALS is setting out to do.
Today, GALS has expanded into the community to connect volunteers with prenatal and postpartum clients, through past and present partnerships and collaborations with Any Baby Can, Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas and Travis County Sheriff’s Office.
We want Austin to be a city that supports ALL our birthing people and children!
Through receiving support during their childbirth experience, women will have an increased belief and trust in themselves and their innate ability to mother, and it will be enough to change the culture of the community and create an infinite impact on the families of tomorrow.