So you heard of this birth support person called a doula, but do you know what a doula is?
Q: What is a doula?
A: The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
Q: Why do we need a doula?
A: Women have complex needs during childbirth and the weeks that follow. In addition to medical care and the love and companionship provided by their partners, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. They need individualized care based on their circumstances and preferences. DONA International doulas are educated and experienced in childbirth and the postpartum period. We are prepared to provide physical (non-medical), emotional and informational support to women and their partners during labor and birth, as well as to families in the weeks following childbirth. We offer a loving touch, positioning and comfort measures that make childbearing women and families feel nurtured and cared for. Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birthtends to result in shorter labors with fewer complicationsreduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experiencereduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareansreduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals.
Research shows parents who receive support can:
Feel more secure and cared for
Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
Have greater success with breastfeeding
Have greater self-confidenceHave less postpartum depression
Have lower incidence of abuse