What is a Doula?
The word 'doula' — pronounced 'doo-la' — is a Greek word meaning 'woman servant or caregiver'. More recently, it refers to someone who offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth.
A doula (also known as a birth attendant) believes in 'mothering the mother‘
A doula is a non-medical assistant in prenatal care, childbirth and the postpartum period. Doulas provide laboring mothers with educational, physical and emotional support. Doulas offer support to the pregnant couple prior, during and after the baby is born.
When Should I Hire A Doula?
Whenever you want :) Some mamas decide they want to hire a doula when they are just 10 weeks pregnant, other mamas have decided last minute they wanted extra support. Looking early for a doula will give you the extra time to sit down with couple different doulas. Hiring a doula early on also gives you more time to build rapport and a trusting relationship.
Does a Doula Replace Midwife/OB/Nurse?
No. Doulas do not replace medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care. They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communication between the mother and medical professionals.
Does a Doula Make Decisions On My Behalf?
A doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.
Will a Doula Make My Partner Feel Unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.
What Are The Benefits of a Doula?
Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labours are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. Women who use doulas report having more positive feelings about their childbirth experience.
Studies have shown that having a doula's support can:
- shorten labour by about 1.5 hours
- decrease chance of cesarean birth by 51%
- decrease the use for pain medication by 36%
- reduce the need for pitocin by 71%
- reduce the need for forceps by 57%
- help partners participate with confidence
- facilitate mother-baby bonding & breastfeeding