DOULA SERVICES

doulaDoula is Greek for “woman caregiver.”  We now use that word to describe a trained and experienced labor companion who provides the woman and her husband or partner continuous emotional support, physical comfort and assistance in obtaining information before, during and just after childbirth.

A Birth Doula:

  • Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all of her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for birth
  • Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout her labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s memory of the birth experience
Women have complex needs during childbirth and the weeks that follow.  In addition to medical care and the love and companionship provided by their partners, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect.  They need individualized care based on their circumstances and preferences.

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:

  • Tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • Reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • Reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • Reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals

Research shows parents who receive support:

  • Feel more secure and cared for
  • Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
  • Have greater success with breastfeeding
  • Have greater self-confidence
  • Have less postpartum depression
  • Have lower incidence of abuse
The acceptance of doulas in maternity care is growing rapidly with the recognition of the important contribution to the improved physical outcomes and emotional well-being of mothers and infants.