A birth doula is someone who is trained and experienced with childbirth who provides
continuous physical, emotional and informational support, before, during and just after birth.
The word doula comes from the Greek meaning ‘woman servant’. A doula will spend time with you during pregnancy to help prepare for birth and will stay with a mother continuously from whenever the mother needs her until an hour or two after the birth.
Studies have shown that a Doula…
- increases the maternal satisfaction of her birth,
- reduces the need for pain relief,
- reduces need for augmentation such as pitocin/syntocin,
- shortens duration of labour
- and increases the chances of a spontaneous vaginal birth.
A doula does not replace the father or birth partner but is able to enhance the experience for all involved. Also a doula does not replace your midwife or other medical care but is a a part of the overall birth team.
There is a lot of evidence to support the use of doula’s during labour. One large study was conducted into continuous labour support concluded that:
” Continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants and no known harm. All women should have support throughout labour and birth”.
You can see that study by clicking here.