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What Is A Doula?

The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek meaning “woman's servant.” Today it is used to refer to someone experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after childbirth.

A Birth Doula:

  • 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 the birth.

  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor.

  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and clinical care providers.

  • 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 “mothering the mother.”

  • Helps the woman's partner to participate at their own comfort level.

Having a doula has proven to make a true difference in the experience of birth, decreasing costly interventions including cesarean section and increasing maternal satisfaction. Effects on the baby include shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries, higher occurrence of successful breastfeeding, and a better bonding experience.

For The Partner:

Doulas do not replace fathers/partners. Doulas provide practical support, but partners radiate strength and love to their partner. The doula's knowledge and experience combined with the partner's loving touch or voice can make all the difference in the world. The doula's support can also result in less stress on the partner which enables him to provide perfect loving support to the mother.

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