What is a Doula?
The word doula comes from the Greek meaning “a woman who serves.” A birth doula assists the laboring woman during the birth of her child. She provides emotional and physical support as well as providing the parents-to-be with information to make an informed decision, helps prepare a birth plan, position suggestions during labor, avoid unnecessary interventions, written birth record and help with breastfeeding preparation.
Benefits of having a birth doula
Women who have had continuous labor support by someone that is not a hospital staff member or someone close to her have had the following results:
28% reduction in cesarean
31% reduction in oxytocin use
9% reduction in use of any pain medication
34% reduction in rating their childbirth experience negatively
Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G J, Sakala C, Weston J. Continuous support for women during childbirth [PDF]. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011, Issue 2.