Why a Doula?



Q: What is a doula?

A: The ancient Greek word "doule" referred to a female servant. By definition a birth doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support during birth. A doula can help parents make informed choices, provide resources, and facilitate communication with the healthcare team. A healthy uncomplicated birth is a non-medical event and benefits greatly from the non-medical support that a birth doula offers. Here is a link to a short video called "Doula: the Essential Ingredient." It provides a history and description of the role of a doula.

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Q: What are the advantages of a doula?

A: Recent reviews of studies have shown that women who have continuous support in labor have:

  • fewer requests for pain meds
  • reduced use of pitocin
  • less chance of needing vacuum or forceps assistance
  • reduced likelihood of cesarean birth
  • greater satisfaction with the outcome
  • better apgar scores for baby
  • more positive long-term memories
  • Click here to check out the 2013 Cochrane review of twenty-two studies.

Q: What about dads?

A: As the one who knows the mother better than anyone else, your presence and support is irreplaceable! You may feel hesitant to consider inviting a stranger to such a private family event as birth. However, a doula's presence can actually facilitate the tender time of togetherness and eliminate the stress and frustration of unmet expectations, fear, and lack of knowledge. After all, supporting a woman in labor is most likely a totally new experience. Doulas understand birth and by helping with massage tips, coaching suggestions, comfort measures, and encouragement, doulas make dads look great!