What is a Doula?
Doula is a Greek word that translates as slave to the woman, and through her knowledge, understanding, and experience in the birthing process, a birth doula will assist families in a multitude of ways. She especially recognizes the need to provide assistance in obtaining information to make informed decisions about women’s bodies and babies, and helps foresee and prevent unwanted interventions common to traditional medical practice.
Why Would One Need a Doula?
Published medical research has shown the positive effects of doula labor support in the birth setting. A doula’s presence during labor results in women in childbirth having shorter labors with fewer complications, less need for pitocin, reduced use of forceps and vacuum extraction, fewer requests for epidural anesthesia, and fewer cesarean births. Mothers with a doula continuously present during their labor have also been shown to experience greater satisfaction with childbirth, better postpartum bonding with the new baby, and fewer sick or distressed babies at birth. There is a correlation between the presence of a doula at birth, and decreased risk of postpartum depression. Babies born with a doula present have shorter hospital stays and fewer admissions to special care nurseries, and are able to breastfeed more easily. Dads and other partners whose child was born with a doula present also experience greater satisfaction, and feel more connected to the mother and child immediately postpartum.
*Please note that a doula is not a substitute for your midwife or obstetrician.