What is a Doula?
The word “Doula” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves”. It is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Hand holding, hugging, cuddling, massaging, coaching, guiding, advocating, and listening are just some of the words used to describe what they do.
Studies have shown that when Doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier, and they breastfeed more easily.
Recognize birth as a key experience the birth parent will remember their whole life. Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a birth parent in labor. Assists the birth parent in preparing for and carrying out their plans for birth. Stays with the birth parent throughout the labor. Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, as well as helping them get the information they need to make informed decisions. Facilitates communication between the birth parent, their partner, and their clinical care providers. Advocates for the family's birth preferences. Doulas perceive their role as nurturing and protecting the birth parent's memory of the birth experience. Allows the partner to participate at their comfort level.