A Doula (/ˈduːlə/), provides continuous emotional and practical support, for mothers and couples, through pregnancy, birth and immediately postpartum, also providing flexible practical and emotional support postnatally for new mothers and families in their own homes.
Doulas are usually experienced women and mothers who have undertaken a doula preparation course. Doulas support families from all ethnic, religious, social backgrounds, including couples and single parents, same sex parents, low income families and executives, students, lawyers, midwives, etc.
Doulas spend time building a relationship with the families they are supporting. They offer space and time for parents to discuss and reflect upon their own situation, their needs, past experiences and options in childbirth to enable them to move towards a positive experience.
Doulas are not there to take the place of the family or partner during a birth, unless parental choice, circumstances or cultural pressures mean that the mother’s partner is unable to be with her during labor and birth.
Doulas do not take a clinical role, they work alongside their client’s care providers, supporting clients in their own choices. At all times a doula is led only by her client’s wishes and does not make specific recommendations, though may signpost to evidence-based resources and information. ~ Wikipedia
“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” — John H. Kennell, MD
BENEFITS OF DOULA CARE
Decreases the overall cesarean rate 50%
Shortens the length of labor 25%
Reduce the use of oxytocin (Pitocin) 40%
Lowered requests for an epidural 60%
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 decisions
Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
Encourages the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level