Doula Support- What is a Doula?

A Doula Supported Birth

 If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it- Dr. John H Kennell

 Doula is Greek and literally means Women Helper. The services of a doula varies not only by doula, but also by client. Doulas tailor their support to meet the needs of the women and family that they are working with.

A doula is most generally an experienced birth attendant, someone who is able to support you through your pregnancy and labour, easing the transition into motherhood.

Some of the services provided by a doula includes:
  • Providing information regarding birth choices (procedures, care provider, etc)
  • Emotional support (during pregnancy birth and after)
  • Birth support (massage, emotional support, labor coaching, acupressure, natural pain relief etc)
  • Taking photos during labor, and after the birth
  • Helping to clean up if at a home birth
  • Helping to establish breastfeeding

After the birth a doula can still be of assistance for:shelly testimonial

  • Helping with cooking and cleaning
  • Giving Mum a break to look after herself for a bit
  • Helping take care of older children
  • Ongoing emotional support for mothers
 Research has shown that women who have a doula at a birth have:
  • 50% decrease in caesarean sections
  • 25% decrease in use of forceps
  • 40% decrease in use of oxytocin to speed up labour
  • 60% decrease in the use of epidurals
  • 30% decrease in use of pain medication
Often when faced with the prospect of birth women have fear- especially if it is their first baby, or a subsequent pregnancy after a traumatic birth.
There is often little continuity of care through pregnancy through to the post partum period, women often find themselves having to explain their wishes and expectations to a host of different care providers who may have differing views or ideas to her.
A doula is a continuous support through pregnancy, birth and post partum. The doula and mother are able to grow a trusting relationship that the mother is able to lean on during birth.
A doula will be able to arm the parents with tools to use during the birth to ensure they are provided with all information before making choices. Many of the procedures performed during labour and birth are based on hospital protocol and put in place for the doctors benefit- not that of the mother or baby.
Doulas use evidence based information to ensure the women and her baby are provided with information that is centred on their best interests.
For more information on the actual services a doula provides please visit the Doula Services page.

For research that has been conducted on the benefits of having a doula, please visit the Research page.

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