What is a doula?

According to DONA: 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.

What doulas do:

  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and honor her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor and birth
  • Provides emotional support & physical comfort measures
  • Get the information she needs to make informed decisions
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Preserving and nurture the woman’s memory of her birth experience

What doulas do not do:

  • Doulas are NOT medical professionals
  • They do not perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams or fetal heart monitoring
  • They do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions
  • They do not take over the role of your husband or partner

Why use a doula?

“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.”

Using a doula shows:

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth

  • Tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • Reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • Reduces 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-confidence
  • Have less postpartum depression
  • Have lower incidence of abuse

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Decrease in the use of Pitocin

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Decrease in the risk of Cesarean

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Increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth

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Decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief

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Decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery

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Decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience