WHAT IS A DOULA?
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greece and translates to “caregiver” or “woman of service”. Historically, women have always helped women through labor and birth…usually older women, often family members, who have experience in giving birth. In our current society, this is not so common. Women need support during pregnancy, labor and birth - this is where the role of a doula comes in.
Doulas are NON-medically trained experienced professionals that support women both emotionally and physically through pregnancy, labor, birth as well as in the post-partum period. Doulas do not offer medical advice or make decisions FOR a pregnant woman but instead, educate, guide and help women make their own decisions about their pregnancy, their baby’s birth and their new baby. Doulas assist with nursing and, usually, general newborn baby care. Doulas advocate for women and protect their birthing space and birth plan. Doulas also support women’s partners during labor and birth as sometimes they are the ones who need the most support in assisting their laboring partner.
Doulas recognize that birth is a significant experience in the life of both mother and child and an experience that will affect them both for the rest of their lives. Doulas understand the physiology and psychology that accompanies both pregnancy and birth. Doulas understand the emotional and physical needs of laboring women. Doulas provide education, emotional support and an objective viewpoint when helping women make decisions about their baby’s birth. Doulas provide the resources needed for women to inform themselves. Doulas facilitate communication between the laboring woman, her partner and care providers. Doulas offer much-needed support in the post-partum period to assist women in recovering, both physically and emotionally, from childbirth.