News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local News


Supporting women before, during and after birth: how its making a big difference for moms

Screen Shot 2023-01-18 at 6.04.34 AM.png
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jan 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-27 08:09:12-05

Bringing in a total stranger to help women with pregnancy is paying off big time for many. A doula provides support for women before, during and after childbirth.

Their main focus is to help women have a safe and empowering birthing experience.

“It's pretty busy with both of them. I'm a stay-at-home mom. I help my husband with his at-home work, so it's pretty chaotic during the day,” Abigail Dewald said.

Dewald recently gave birth to her second baby girl and says the second go-around was much more empowering than the first.

In 2020 her and her husband went at it alone and she ended up having to have a cesarean section.

“My baby's heartbeat/heart rate was like going down and they said that it was either I have a C-section right now or we risk the baby's life. So, I was like well of course I want to have a C-section. I don't want anything to happen to my baby, you know?” Dewald said.

Even with her husband by her side, Dewald said in that moment, she felt alone.

“I felt like there was like no help or nothing,” Dewald said.

When she found out she was pregnant with her second, she knew she wanted something different.

“I was like alright, I'm going to have a doula,” Dewald said.

That’s when she found Lauren Crum with Guided Connections.

“I have always had such a passion around labor and delivery and pregnancy,” Crum said.

Crum said her goal is to help women have a better pregnancy and delivery experience.

“I didn't realize how many issues women were facing when it came to really being able to advocate for themselves and then knowing what their options were when it comes to such a sacred moment that they're experiencing in their lives,” Crum said.

Dewald said Crum was there at the hospital during the birth of her second baby and made the experience more enjoyable.

“I didn't have to like worry much or think much about what I had to say or what was happening because she was there,” Dewald said.

She didn’t have to field questions from the nurses and doctors.

“Their responsibility is to make sure that you are safe and that baby is safe and so having somebody that can help you advocate for some of these other preferences to maybe help avoid some of these medical interventions,” Crum said.

“I was more connected with my baby than I was with my first one just because of the whole process,” Dewald said.

Dewald says now that she’s given birth with and without a doula, if they have a third, she will be using a doula again.

Crum is one of many doulas in the area.

She said prices for her services vary based on the client, but her rates start at $1,800 and it's often not covered by insurance.

Crum shared these stats from Evidence Based Birthing on the impacts a doula can have on the birthing experience.

  • 25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean; the largest effect was seen with a doula (39% decrease).
  • 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth; the largest effect was seen with a doula (15% increase)
  • 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief; the type of person providing continuous support did not make a difference
  • Shorter labors by 41 minutes on average; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference
  • 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five-minute Apgar score; there is no data on if the type of person providing continuous support makes a difference
  • 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience; mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was reduced with continuous support provided by a doula or someone in their social network (family or friend), but not hospital staff