What is a Doula

What is a Doula?

A Doula at Work Doula is an ancient Greek word most commonly translated as female maidservant. A doula in today’s world is a trained and experienced woman who accompanies a new mother through birth and/or the postpartum period, offering emotional support, physical comfort, practical assistance and non-medical care.

Birth Doulas
• also known as labor assistants

• meet with the mother and her partner during the pregnancy to get acquainted
   and discuss the birth

• offer continuous emotional support from early labor through the birth of the baby.

• help with breathing and relaxation techniques

• may provide massage

• make suggestions on position changes for comfort and labor progress

• offer frequent reassurance

Postpartum Doulas
• are experienced and educated women who come to your home in the first days
   after your baby is born

• offer emotional support, physical care and practical assistance

• help the mother learn to care for her baby and guide her efforts at feeding
   the baby

• provide light household assistance, meal preparation and baby laundry

What The Experts Say
Research indicates that the presence of a doula:

• decreases the need for cesarean by 50%

• increases the chances of unmedicated birth 30 – 60%

• decreases the length of labor by 25%

• decreases the need for other interventions with mother and baby

• increases the mother’s and father’s satisfaction with the experience

“…every effort should be made to ensure that all labouring women receive support…this support should include continuous presence (when wished by the mother), the provision of hands-on comfort, and praise and encouragement.”
A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth – Enkin, Keirse, Renfrew and Neilson. Oxford University Press, 1995

“Every woman needs not only the father and other chosen partner but also a nurturing, experienced person – a doula- who can calmly and skillfully help her cope with labor and be a reassuring and constant presence for both her and the father.”

Mothering the Mother – Klaus, Kennel, & Klaus