What is a doula?
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “Woman’s servant.”
The doula helps mothers and parents prepare for birth, gives emotional support and practical comfort measures and helps understanding between parents and medical staff. Doulas meet with parents before and after birth whenever possible. She is a peer, medical training is not necessary!
Giving birth to a baby is so much more than a physical phenomenon. It is a life-changing experience, a very special event full of emotion and meaning. A doula who accompanies a woman in labor, mothers the mother, taking care of her emotional needs throughout childbirth. A doula also provides support and suggestions for partners that can enhance their experiences of birth too. A postpartum doula continues that valuable emotional support and guidance, helping a family make a smooth transition into new family dynamics.
Studies on continuous support by a doula show better health for babies and mothers, more comfortable labors, fewer complications, and greater satisfaction for mothers. She does no medical or assessment tasks, such as checking the cervix, since she is not trained to make decisions about management of care. Emotional support and continual presence have been proven to reduce complications. We help the mother find her own voice, not speak for her.
The doula trusts birth. She helps women believe in their ability to give birth. She helps the mother have a good memory of birth. She celebrates the birth of this mother and child by upholding the “story” that the mother herself creates for her birth.
A doula is a support person who offers one-on-one, non-clinical care and comfort to a woman and her family throughout labor and birth. This means that you will have the same person, throughout labor constantly be making sure your needs and wants are met. You don’t have to explain what your vision for birth is to someone new every shift… they already know!
Research has demonstrated that when women in labor are attended by a doula that: Labors are shorter, There are fewer complications, There is less need for pitocin, forceps or vacuum extraction deliveries. There is less need for pain medication, epidurals or cesarean deliveries
How do doulas practice? Doulas practice in three ways: privately hired directly by clients,
as hospital employees, and as volunteers in community or hospital programs.
Does a doula replace midwife care of a nurse? No. Doulas do not replace midwives, nurses or other birth staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
Does a doula make decisions on my behalf? A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.
Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.