What is a Birth Doula?
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves.” It is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily if that's your choice of feeding.
A Birth Doula
Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
Stays with the woman throughout the labor
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
What is NOT included in Birth Doula support?
Doulas are not medical professionals, and the following tasks are not preformed by doulas:
They do not preform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams or fetal heart monitoring
They do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions
They do not make decisions for the client (medical or otherwise)
They do not pressure the birthing person into certain choices just because that's what they prefer
They do not take over the role of the partner
They do not catch the baby
They do not change shifts (Although some doulas may call their back-up after 12-24 hours)
In our role as Doulas, we offer support to women and their partners before, during and after childbirth. Our role is to help facilitate safe, positive and empowering birthing experiences by offering the information, emotional support and physical support needed during this time.