The word Doula is a Greek word meaning Women's Servant. Women have been serving others in childbirth for many centuries and have proven that support from another woman has a positive impact on the labor process.
What is a Doula?
A Doula is a professional trained in childbirth, who provides emotional, physical and educational support to a mother who is expecting, who is in labor, or who has recently given birth. The Doula's purpose is to help women have a safe, memorable and empowering birth experience.
What does a Doula Do?
Most Doula-Client relationships begin a few months before the baby is due. During this period, they develop a relationship in which the mother feels free to ask questions, express her fears and concerns, and take an active role in creating a birth plan.
Most Doulas make themsevles available by phone in order to respond to her questions, or address any concerns that might arise during the course of pregnancy. Doulas do not provide any type of medical care. However, they are knowledgeable in many aspects of labor and birth. As such, they can help their clients gain a better understanding of the procedures and possible complications in late pregnancy and birth.
During labor and birth, Doulas are in close proximity to the mother. They have the ability to provide comfort and pain relief, using breathing & relaxation techniques, massage and labor positioning. Doulas also encourage participation from the partner and offer reassurance.
A Doula acts as an advocate for the mother, helping her fulfill specific desires she might have for her birth. The goal of the Doula is to help the mother experience a positive and safe birth, whether and unmedicated birth or cesarean. After birth, many Labor Doulas will spend time helping mothers begin the breastfeeding process and encouraging bonding between the new baby and other family members.