The word “Doula” comes from ancient Greek and commonly refers to a woman who helps other women. In the childbirth setting, a Doula is a “woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after childbirth.” (Klaus, Kennel, and Klaus, in Mothering the Mother.) Additionally, a Doula may provide postpartum support and assistance for the new mother and baby.
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor…
- Assists the woman and her partner by supporting their hopes and preferences for the birth while staying with the family during the duration of labor…
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions…
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and clinical care providers…
Why Hire A Doula?
Research shows that women that have continuous doula support were:
- 28% less likely to have a cesarean section
- 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed labor
- 9% less likely to use any pain medication
- 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively.
Women who received doula support throughout labor were less likely to:
- Have a cesarean section,
- Use narcotics or any other pain medication,
- To use regional pain medication such as Epidural analgesia,
- To give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps,
- Rate their childbirth experience poorly,
Studies have also shown that continuous doula support:
- Shortened labor,
- Increased the likelihood of having a “spontaneous” birth with neither cesarean, nor vacuum extraction, nor forceps.
- Reduced likelihood of a baby with a poor “Apgar score” five minutes after birth
For more information regarding these statistics and the benefits of hiring a doula you can…
Download the current 2011 Cochrane review available in full due to Childbirth Connections’ participation in review:
The Cochrane Collaboration