What is a Birth Doula

The word doula comes from the Greek root meaning, "woman who serves".

Wikipedia: doula (/ˈdlə/, also known as a labour coach[1] ,[2] is a nonmedical person who assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, as well as her partner and/or family, by providing physical assistance, and emotional support.[3] The provision of continuous support during labour by doulas (as well as nurses, family, or friends) is associated with improved maternal and fetal health and a variety of other benefits.[4]

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of a doula-supported birth. As you consider a doula-supported birth, consider some of the findings:

Effects on Birth Outcomes:

  • Labors are 25% shorter.¹
  • There are fewer complications.
  • Cesarean rates are reduced by 50%.¹
  • There is 40% less need for oxytocin to speed up labor.¹
  • Need for forceps is reduced by 40%.¹
  • Women request 30% less pain medication and 60% fewer epidurals.¹
Effects on the Mother:

  • Greater satisfaction with their birth experience.
  • More positive assessments of their babies.
  • Less postpartum depression.
Effects on the Baby:

  • Babies have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries.
  • Babies breastfeed more easily.
  • Mothers are more affectionate to their babies postpartum.
Effects on Partner

  • Greater sense of security for birthing partner.
  • Ability to focus on being the best support to birthing partner and/or siblings.
  • Learned and/or enforced skills to support birthing partner.
  • Over all peace about planning the family's birth.
Effects on the Health Care System:
  • The cost of obstetrical care is dramatically reduced.
  • Women are pleased with the personalized care doulas offer.
  • The Benefit of continuous support in labor is recognized by:
    • The World Health Organization
    • The Medical Leadership Council (an organization of over 1200 U.S. hospitals)
    • The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada
¹ Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth, by Kennell, Klaus, and Kennell (1993)