Having a doula at your birth
has statistically been shown to*:
Reduce the need for cesareans
*excerpted from: Mothering the Mother by Klaus,
Kennell and Klaus, 1993.
Reduce requests for epidurals
Reduce the need for Pitocin
Reduce the length of labor
Increase incidence of breastfeeding
exactly is a Doula?
The word doula comes from the ancient
Greek and means "woman's servant." Presently, a doula
refers to a woman trained and experienced in childbirth.
The doula is there to provide continuous
physical, emotional, and informational support to the expectant
mother and her partner throughout her pregnancy, and during
labor, delivery and the immediate postpartum period.
The doula's primary role is to help women
have a safe, memorable and empowering birth experience.
Women have been serving other women in
childbirth for centuries and studies show that mothers who are
"mothered" by another woman during labor are better
able to nurture their own babies. ("Continuous Emotional
Support During Labor in US Hospitals", Kennell, et. al.,
JAMA, May 1991, Vol. 265, No. 17).
a Doula help you?
While the rest of the birth team is trained
to perform medical procedures, the doula's priority is you and
your partner's continuous emotional and physical comfort.
The doula is there to reassure you and your
partner that you CAN birth this baby, like millions of women
When a doula is present, there are better
outcomes for babies and their mothers, shorter, more comfortable
labors, and greater maternal satisfaction.
Fathers are freer
to provide emotional support when a doula is present, and
feel more confident knowing someone knowledgeable is there to
help answer questions and facilitate communication with care
The doula will meet with you and your
partner prenatally to get to know you and your desires for this
birth and will assist you in your efforts to write a birth plan
in order to clearly express your wishes to your health care
provider and the medical staff.
She will also help clarify information
discussed with you by the doctor/midwife or may make suggestions
for future topics to review with your caregiver.
She will be available by phone and email throughout
your pregnancy and will be on call 24/7 for 2 weeks prior to
and following your due date. Once you call to say that you're
in labor she will counsel you over the phone until you would
like her to join you either at your home or at the
From then on she will use her expertise to
guide, comfort and support you through your entire labor until
the birth of your baby.
Doulas will often use a hands-on approach
to reduce stress and anxiety during labor. However, the list
of comfort measures is much more extensive and includes such
things as position changes, massage, relaxation, breathing techniques,
counter-pressure, visualization, acupressure, aromatherapy,
vocalization and various water therapies.
Immediately following the birth, your
doula will remain with you for the initial breastfeeding to
help establish a good latch and a positive bonding experience
for both you and your baby.
And finally, your doula will follow up
with a postpartum visit to your home to see how you are adjusting
to the new addition to your family. This is a time to reflect
on the birth itself and discuss any questions or concerns you
In addition, your doula may be available
to provide birth photography, belly casting and/or other forms
of birth art.
- Initial interview
- Prenatal consultations
- Local lending library
- Birth plan counseling
- 24 hour phone & email
support as needed
- Informational support regarding
benefits of various birthing
- Referrals to other birth/pregnancy/parenting
resources in the area
- Belly casting or belly painting
- Pregnancy photography (extra
- Continuous labor support
- Relaxation & breathing
- Massage & acupressure
- Suggestions for position
- Suggestions for comfort
- Guided imagery & visualizations
- Aromatherapy & hydrotherapy
- Use of birth ball &
- Informational support
- Reassurance for birth partner
- Labor photography
- Assistance with initial
breastfeeding & bonding
- Home visit to clarify events
& answer questions
- Suggestions for local network
- Referrals to other professionals
- Mom & baby photography