doula /ˈduːlə/: ▶noun: a woman giving support, help, and advice
to another woman during pregnancy and during and after the birth.
The practice of physically and emotionally supporting a woman through her birthing experience is a tradition that has been around for thousands of years. As a doula, I provide continuous 24-7 support before, during, and after the birthing process, from week 37 to week 42.
I begin with prenatal visits to create a birth plan and to discuss the mother’s desires, fears, and wishes. I will be present during early labor at home, as well as active labor – whether at home or in the hospital. I remain with the mother and her partner throughout the birth, and up to a few hours after the baby is born. I offer informational support, as well as aid in the mothers comfort through techniques such as breathing, relaxation, movement, positioning, and massage. My most essential role is providing continuous emotional reassurance and solace.
Benefits of Having a Doula:
Numerous studies have documented the benefits of having a doula present during labor. A recent Cochrane Review, Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth, showed a very high number of positive birth outcomes when a doula is present. With the support of a doula, women were less likely to need pain relief medications administered, less likely to have a cesarean birth, and reported having a more positive childbirth experience.
In a study conducted by Marshall Klaus, John Kennell, and Phyllis Klaus, significant results stated that having a doula as a member of the birth team does the following:
Having a birthing doula, as well as a postpartum doula, has also shown long term benefits including: improved breastfeeding, decreased Postpartum Depression, and improved mother-infant interaction.
*Doulas do not make decisions for their clients. Their goal is to provide the support and information needed to help the birthing mother have a safe and satisfying birth as the mother defines it. Doulas specialize in non-medical skills, and do not perform clinical tasks, or diagnose medical conditions.
Decreased medical intervention in labor