What is a Doula?
A doula is a professionally trained birth assistant providing continuous emotional and physical support before, during and after delivery. A doula brings knowledge and experience of the emotional and physical progression of labor to offer reassurance to laboring women and their families. Women cope with labor in a variety of ways and a doula assists their clients in finding what works during each stage of labor and delivery.
Doulas fulfill a unique and positive role in a couples journey during pregnancy, labor and the immediate postpartum period. The benefits of a woman continuously supported by a doula are invaluable. Several studies have shown women supported by a doula experience a reduction in length of labor, cesarean sections, need for pain medications and fewer complications. Additionally, the women had a greater satisfaction with their childbirth experience and enhanced mother/infant bonding. The women also experienced less postpartum depression, anxiety and had greater self-esteem. These results solidify the value of labor support not only for the mother, but the family as well.
For more information on the purpose and value of labor support please see the following publications: