The word doula comes from the Greek word meaning female servant or slave. As such, a doula is the servant of a woman before, during, and after her birthing time. A doula exists to educate, to listen to, to support, to empathize with, and to mediate for the laboring woman.
Why choose to have doula?
Studies have shown that having a knowledgeable support person during labor greatly benefits the mother. Some of these benefits include decreased use of pain medications, lower incidence of cesarean section, decrease in the length of labor by up to 25%, an increase in successful breastfeeding, an increase in satisfaction with labor and birth, and a decrease in postpartum depression.
What does a doula do?
Doulas provide support to mothers in a variety of ways.
*Informational support, such as explanations (of labor, birth, and common interventions), instructions, discussion of issues, and help with creating a birth plan, if desired.
*Emotional support, such as encouraging words, reassurance, and creating a warm and calming atmosphere.
*Physical support, such as massage, acupressure, cool or warm compresses, ice chips, food or drink, position changes, etc.
*Doulas can also assist the woman or couple in successful, professional communication with care providers.
What does a doula not do?
*Perform medical tasks such as fetal heart tones, vaginal exams, etc.
*Make decisions for the laboring woman.
*Give clinical advice.