“Doula” is a Greek word for “woman caregiver”. A doula supports and cares for the well-being of the mother-to-be, and is there for her before, during, and after the birth of her baby. She offers her continuous presence during labor and delivery and is there to provide both physical and emotional support to the birthing woman and her partner.
A doula helps to hold space for the birthing process to unfold, while encouraging the birthing woman to trust her intuitive instincts and the wisdom of her own body. Doulas are not responsible for any of the medical aspects of pregnancy, labor, or delivery, and do not replace a woman’s health care provider (doctor, midwife, obstetrician) but can help facilitate and support communication between the mother, her partner, and health care provider.
Why have a Doula?
Doulas provide continuous support during labor which is shown to:
-Reduce the need for pain medication as well as other medical interventions such as oxytocin use and cesarean section
-Reduce the length of labor
– Increase breastfeeding
– Increase feelings of satisfaction in the mother
Marshall H. Klaus, MD, John H. Kennell, MD and Phyllis H. Klaus, MFT, LMSW. (2012). The Doula Book. Boston, MA. Da Capo Press.