What is a Doula?

doula at work

What is a Doula?

  • A woman who assists in childbirth
  • A woman who is experienced in childbirth, and provides:
    • Physical, emotional, informational assistance
    • Supports the mother before, during, and immediately after childbirth
  • The word “Doula” is Greek and means “a woman who serves”
    • Today it refers to a trained and experienced professional that provides continuous physical and emotional support during pregnancy, birth, and a short time after the baby is born
  • How they assist
    • With reading materials
    • Make prenatal and post-partum visits
    • Birth plans
    • Self-advocacy tools for pregnant women in a hospital setting
    • Pain management
    • Relaxation techniques
    • Can assure a safe birth/honoring the needs of the mother
    • Validation: birth experiences, and choices made for pregnancy outcomes
    • Support immediately after birth (approximately the first 2 hours after)
  • Research has shown, when a woman is present during labor as a support person that:
    • pain relief is needed less often
    • labor is shorter
    • fewer deliveries with forceps or vacuum extraction
    • C-sections
    • More likely to be still breast-feeding 6 weeks after birth
      • Less likely to have depression during the post-partum period.