By definition, a doula is "a woman who serves." The term is now used in reference to a trained and experienced professional who provides uninterrupted physical, emotional, and informational support before, during, and just after birth. Doulas also provide the birth partner with the knowledge and skills to be a confident support person for the laboring mother.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Studies have shown that births attended by a doula have the following outcomes:
What does a doula do?
A doula is contracted as an unbiased advocate for the laboring mother and her birth partner(s). Since most doulas work independently and are hired directly by the mother, their sole purpose is to provide emotional and physical support for the mother as she approaches delivery and begins her new journey as a mother. In addition, the doula can assist in the acquisition of the information necessary to make informed decisions about her care during labor and delivery.