What is a Doula?

 

What is a Doula?

 

The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves". These days the word is used in the context of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period for someone who provides support or "mothers" the family during this incredible time of transition.

 

 

What does a Doula do?

 

Almost anything you need them to!​ Doulas provide continuous emotional, physical and informational support to mothers and partners starting in pregnancy and continuing through the postpartum period. During pregnancy, we help you plan for the birth you want and prepare you for this next step in your life. We attend your birth, ready to fully support you in whatever way you specifically need, whether that is through massage, assistance with finding a comfortable and effective position, an encouraging word, helping you communicate your wishes to your care provider and medical staff,  or simply running to get food for your partner so they can remain with you in labour. After you've settled in with your baby, we provide you with breastfeeding support, and come with lists of resources should you need more help than we can provide with any issue. Every doula is unique in their personality and style, and it is important that you choose someone you feel comfortable with.

A doula is not a medical care provider. We do not perform clinical tasks such as checking fetal heart tones, checking blood pressure or cervical checks. We cannot make decisions for you or speak on your behalf, but will encourage you to communicate with your health care provider to make informed decisions and speak for yourself.

A doula is not a replacement for your partner! One of my biggest goals as a doula is to bring birthing families closer together by working as a team with your partner and supporting them to support you. A good doula will encourage your partner in supporting you, and work with any other support persons you have chosen to attend your birth to ensure the best birth experience possible.

 

 

What are the benefits of hiring a doula?

 

From the DONA website:

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 can:

  •     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

 

From the Cochrane Library Study on Continuous support for women during childbirth:

 

"Women who received continuous labour support were more likely to give birth 'spontaneously', i.e. give birth with neither caesarean nor vacuum nor forceps. In addition, women were less likely to use pain medications, were more likely to be satisfied, and had slightly shorter labours. Their babies were less likely to have low five-minute Apgar scores. No adverse effects were identified. We conclude that all women should have continuous support during labour. Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman's social network, is experienced in providing labour support, and has at least a modest amount of training, appears to be most beneficial"

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​© 2019 by TigerLily Doula Service. Photos ​© 2019 by Coastal Lifestyles Photography, Cara Bjornson PhotographyAshley Marston Photography, Twiggy Photography, and CBR Photography, used with permission.