What is a Birth Doula?

From the DONA International website: 

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 birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, 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
  • 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 providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
    http://www.dona.org/mothers/

A Birth Doula offers: 

~continuous birth support

~empowerment

~advocacy

~education

~judgement-free encouragement 

Why use a Birth Doula?

Data was collected for the intensive Cochran Review on continuous labor support for women during childbirth. This study is one of the most up to date and trusted research sites to be found on the internet concerning the health care field.  They showed that with continuous labor support:

·  Women who receive doula care are 27% less likely to be dissatisfied with their births as compared to women who did not use a doula.

·  Women in the doula care group were significantly more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth

·  These women were significantly less likely to feel a loss of control in labor

·  In addition their labors were shorter, they were less likely to have a caesarean, or instrumental vaginal birth, regional analgesia, or a baby with a low 5-minute Apgar score

Their conclusion statement is that “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.”*