What is a Doula?
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 a mother during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
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:
- Provides continuous support throughout labour, birth, and early postpartum.
- 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
- A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).
Benefits of Having a Doula at Your Birth:
- up to a 50% reduction in C-section rates
- up to a 60% reduction in epidural requests
- approximately 25% reduction in the length of labor
- over 30% reduction in narcotic pain relief requests
- increased maternal satisfaction with birth experience
- iIncreased breastfeeding success
- increased mother-baby bonding
- lower postpartum depression
Further reading (studies and evidence to support the benefits listed above):
Evidence Based Birth: The Evidence for Doulas
Childbirth Connection: Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth
Childbirth Connection: Best Evidence Labour Support