A doula is a labour coach that offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth. The word “doula” is a Greek word meaning “woman servant”.
Women have complex needs during childbirth. In addition to the clinical aspects of birth, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labour is shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
What Does A Doula Do?
- A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to a woman and her partner during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.
- Doulas do not provide medical care, but rather work alongside healthcare providers to ensure the best possible birth experience for the mother and her partner.
- Doulas can help with pain management techniques, such as breathing exercises and massage, and can also provide guidance on birth positions and other comfort measures.
- Doulas can also assist with creating a birth plan, advocating for the mother’s wishes during labour and delivery, and providing education on breastfeeding and newborn care.
- Research has shown that having a doula present during childbirth can lead to shorter labour, less need for pain medication, and a lower likelihood of interventions such as caesarean section.
- Doulas can also provide support during the postpartum period, including help with breastfeeding, emotional support, and assistance with household tasks.
- Doulas come from a variety of backgrounds and may have different certifications or training programs, but all share a commitment to supporting women and their partners during the transformative experience of childbirth.
Why You Need A Doula For Your Birth
A doula provides emotional support throughout your pregnancy, labour, and postpartum period. They are there to listen to your concerns, fears, and hopes, and provide a safe space for you to express your emotions. They can also help you and your partner navigate any conflicts or challenges that may arise during this time.
A doula is your advocate during labour and delivery. They can help you communicate with your healthcare provider and ensure that your wishes and preferences are respected. They can also help you understand your options and make informed decisions about your care.
A doula is trained in various comfort measures to help you cope with the physical sensations of labour. They can provide massage, breathing techniques, and other techniques to help you relax and manage pain. They can also help you find comfortable positions and provide support during pushing.
Information And Education
A doula can provide you with information and education about pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care. They can help you understand the different stages of labour, the benefits and risks of various interventions, and how to care for yourself and your baby after birth.
Continuity Of Care
A doula provides continuity of care throughout your pregnancy, labour, and postpartum period. They can help you build a relationship with your healthcare provider and ensure that you receive consistent care. They can also provide follow-up support after birth to help you adjust to life with a new baby.
Reduced Risk Of Interventions
Studies have shown that having a doula present during labour and delivery can reduce the risk of interventions such as caesarean section, epidural, and forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery. This is because doulas can help you cope with pain and manage labour more effectively, reducing the need for medical interventions.
Improved Birth Experience
Having a doula present during labour and delivery can improve your overall birth experience. Studies have shown that women who have a doula present during birth are more satisfied with their experience and have better outcomes for themselves and their babies.