Thursday, July 9, 2009

What is a Doula?

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 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.

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 decision

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

Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.

*This information taken from the DONA website.

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