What Is A Doula?

 

What is a Doula?
Michelle Pino – Photographer

The word “doula” is an ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves.” 
Birth doulas are trained and experienced labor support professionals who tend to the physical, emotional and informational needs of birthing women and their partners, before, during and just after birth.

Continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants and no known harm. All women should have support throughout labour and birth.
– Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C

A birth doula:

  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life.
  • Works Cooperatively within the birth team to help you realize your goals.
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions.
  • Allows the woman’s husband or partner to participate at their comfort level.
  • Helps facilitate communication between the laboring woman, her husband or partner and her clinical care providers.
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.
  • Provides continuous support throughout the labor.
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her preferences for the birth
    while nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of the birth experience.

More Benefits to working with a Doula:

  • 50% decrease in cesarean section
  • 25% decrease in length of labor
  • 30% decrease in use of forceps
  • 40% decrease in use of oxytocin (Pitocin)
  • 60% decrease in the use of epidurals
  • 30% decrease in pain medication.

Long term benefits of labor support include

  • Improved Breastfeeding
  • Decreased Postpartum Depression
  • Greater Maternal Satisfaction