What is a doula?
“The word ‘doula’ comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘a woman who serves’ and 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 after birth. Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily” (DONA International).
A Birth Doula
·Understands the physiology of birth and the emotions of a laboring woman
·Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth (Birth Plan Consultation)
·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
·Provides support for the partner to facilitate his involvement in the birth process.
A Postpartum Doula
·Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
·Assists with newborn care, transitioning older siblings to the new family dynamics, meal preparation and light household tidying
· Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents
·Offers referrals to trusted professionals and additional support resources