What is a doula?
Doula (doo-lah) comes from Greek meaning "a woman who serves." A doula is a trained labor assistant who provides emotional and physical support during childbirth, as well as information about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.
A birth doula:
- Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
- Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
- Stays with the woman throughout the labor
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
- Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
- Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
A postpartum doula:
- Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
- Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
- Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary
Definitions and descriptions used with gratitude from DONA: the oldest and largest international doula association.
This I Believe
I believe in childbirth and labor support. I believe that every woman should experience a supported birth, and that she should be able to define what that support looks and feels like. Modern American culture can fill the head and heart space of childbirth with fear and doubt. I want to encourage women to replace the fear and doubt with peace, excitement, strength, trust in their bodies, and information to make educated decisions. It is an immense honor to share space with a laboring woman and the family of a newborn.