What is a Doula?

Dr. Christine Morton, author of the book Birth Ambassadors, describes a birth Doula as a "companion who supports a birthing person during labor and birth. Birth Doula's are trained to provide continuous, one-on-one care, as well as information, physical support, and emotional support to birthing persons and their partners".*

 

 

 

The word "Doula" comes directly from the Greek meaning "woman's servant".

A Doula's sole purpose is to advocate and support the mom. You might think, "isn't that what my doctor and partner is for?" Of course, but we have to remember that the birthing partner is also going through this exciting experience, and a Doula can be fully present and a guiding light through the entire process. 

A Doula is someone who will provide emotional, physical (but not medical), and advocacy support to the birthing person and family. The support that a Doula will show is all dependent on what on the birth plan set in place. Having a plan in place for what the labor process and birthing plan should look like will give the Doula the tasks they need to follow in order to fulfill the birthing persons wishes. 

Some different forms of physical and emotional support a Doula might offer: 

  • Helping with laboring positions and techniques
  • Touch and massage to calm and reduce stress and anxiety
  • Encouragement and reassurance
  • Guiding the birthing person and partner through labor 
  • Carrying out the wishes and birth plan for the birthing family 

A Doula is there to help the birthing family make informed decisions and carry out their wishes, whether this means a natural birth, or medicated birth - it is all completely up to the family. Remember that this relationship all starts with asking questions, and expressing your wishes for when it comes time for labor and delivery. The end goal is to make sure you have a successful birth with a positive and safe experience. 

*Morton, C. H., & Clift, E. (2014). Birth ambassadors: Doulas and the re-emergence of woman-supported birth America. Amarillo, TX: Praeclarus Press, LLC.

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