Doula is woman-supporting woman. A doula lets the laboring mother know that someone is there for her, a steady support by her side, unswayed by the busy hustle bustle and deep emotional swings childbirth can bring. A doula is a trained non-medical professional who provides continuous emotional, physical, and informational support to a woman and her partner throughout labor and birth.
Emotional - A doula will give constant reassurance and encouragement to the laboring mother allowing her to feel safe and secure. She offers solid and continuous nurturing; never doubting a mother’s ability and strength to birth.
Physical - She gives comfort through massage, acupressure, positioning suggestions, visualization, hydrotherapy and use of a birthing ball.
Informational - A doula understands the physiology of labor through training and experience; she knows the ins and outs of normal, high risk or complicated birth procedures providing an expectant couple with information necessary to make their own decisions.
When a doula is in attendance, partners of the laboring mother also benefit. With their deep emotional involvement and intimate attachments to the birth, fathers and partners cannot be expected to offer their full, steady support to a laboring mother. They, like the expectant mother, can become overwhelmed, experience deep emotions and confusion. In an unobtrusive manner, a doula can help to preserve intimacy between the father and mother by taking care of other matters while the partner concentrates on loving and holding the mother. With a doula’s support, the expectant father or partner is released from the pressure to know all the answers, is free to experience emotions and participate in the birth to the depth which he or she is capable and comfortable.
Assist mother and partner/husband in having the birth they desire.
Allow the mother to give birth as she defines it. This is your birth.
Give my constant presence and support throughout your entire labor and delivery.
Make sure the partner/husband’s role is enhanced by my presence to the extent desired.
Perform medical tasks such as vaginal exams and interpreting external fetal monitoring
Give advice or make decisions for the birthing mother and partner/husband. I will help you to obtain knowledge needed to make informed choices.
Confront the care provider or hospital staff on your behalf. I will always support you in having your desired birth. It is not my intention to create hostility with staff to achieve these goals. I will be sure in the most respectful way you are seen and heard.
Through a doula’s gentle and steady support, a birthing mother can stay focused, calm and make wise decisions during labor. Her partner is able to be intimately and emotionally involved. This enhances the ability of the entire family to welcome the newborn into the world.