What A Doula Does
Do you need a doula?
With a doula’s help, you’re more likely to experience a positive birth, whether natural or C-section.
For centuries, women have been supporting each other during labour. In Greek, the word ‘doula’ means ‘women’s servant’. Today, ‘doula’ refers to a someone who provides non-medical support to a mom-to-be before, during and after birth.
While you may have chosen your husband, mom or best friend to be your birth companion, a doula who has been trained in the biological process of childbirth can be a valuable addition to your birth team.
What a doula does
A doula uses her knowledge to support, comfort, encourage and inform an expectant couple throughout the birth process. If you use a doula, you’ll likely build a relationship with her over your pregnancy, so that when your due date arrives, she’ll know how best to help you.
Six doula services:
- During pregnancy, she will discuss your birth hopes and concerns with you, helping to dispel any unnecessary anxiety and guiding you as you draw up realistic, personal birth plan
- During labour, she will provide physical support, wiping your brow or assisting with pain-relieving options, such as relaxation techniques, massage and labouring positions
- A doula’s emotional support during labour will help you to feel comforted and understood, reducing your perception of physical pain
- A doula will also support you partner, keeping him calm and suggesting practical ways that he can help you
- After birth, she will provide breastfeeding guidance, for long-term nursing success
- A postpartum doula will watch out for any signs of postnatal depression and suggest where you can get help if you need it
Research has shown that the support of a doula during labour means:
- A C-section is less likely (although doulas can also provide valuable support during necessary C-sections)
- The use of forceps or vacuum is less likely
- Induction is less likely
- Pain medication is often reduced
- The length of labour is often reduced
- Mom is more likely to rate her childbirth experience positively
- Breastfeeding is more likely to be successful
- Mom is less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression after birth
What a doula does not do
Since a doula is not a medical professional, she will not perform clinical procedures or diagnose medical conditions, nor will she deliver the baby.
As she is a source of support during labour, your doula will not judge you, pressure you, or allow her personal opinions to affect the way she cares for you during labour. She also cannot make decisions for you. Rather, she will provide you with information so you can make your own informed choices about your birth.