The word doula comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and 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 the birth.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier, and they breastfeed more easily.
A Birth Doula
- Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
- Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
- Stays with the woman throughout the labor and birth process
- 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
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and her clinical care
- Allows the woman’s birth partner to participate at his/her comfort level
A Postpartum Doula
- Provides emotional support, active listening and encouragement
- Offers soothing techniques, breastfeeding and bottle feeding support and explains normal newborn behavior
- Prepares simple, healthy snacks and provides meal prep, if desired
- Helps partners and siblings adjust to life with a newborn family member
*This information is taken from www.dona.org “What is a doula?”