Doulas are non-medical professionals who have been trained to provide physical and emotional support as well as information for women and their partners before, during, and after birth.
Birth doulas help families to prepare for birth, offer continuous support during labor, and brief postpartum care after the birth of the baby.
Postpartum doulas support new parents by providing infant care, basic breast feeding support and referrals to local resources as needed, in an effort to smooth the transition into life with a new baby.
A Doulas support can come in many different shapes. Physical support can come in a variety of methods such as massage, counter pressure, position changes, and rhythmic movement. Emotional support comes from the reassurance, relaxation techniques and the calm presence of your Doula. The information provided by your Doula both prenatally and during the birth, can help you to better understand the processes and changes that are taking place, as well as help you navigate your options should complications arise. Most importantly doulas hold the space and have complete confidence in a woman's ability to birth her baby, and work to make sure that every woman feels loved and supported in her choices and decisions throughout the whole birthing process.
Should I have a doula at my birth?
Whether you are planning to have an unmedicated birth, are looking forward to an epidural, or have a scheduled c-section, a doula can support you and your family in the ways outlined above.
According to current research, women receiving doula support are 28% less likely to have a cesarean birth, 31% less likely to use a synthetic form of oxytocin, such as Pitocin, to augment labor, 9% less likely to use any pain medication at all during labor, and 34% less likely to describe their birth experience negatively. Women who receive support from an untrained partner or friend are more likely to view her birth experience positively, their likelihood of requiring obstetric interventions is unchanged.