What is a Doula?

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.

A Labor Doula recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life.

Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.

Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth.

Stays by the side of the laboring woman from the point of being summoned, until after the birth of the baby. Provides  emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint  and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make informed decisions.

Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical care providers.

Perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s memory of her birth experience. 


“Published data indicate that one of the most effective  tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence  of support personnel, such as a doula.”
— ACOG, March 2014 

Why you deserve a Doula

Early March 2014, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AGOG) released an article on recommendations to improve birth outcomes. Doulas were listed as the  top most beneficial tool to improve labor and delivery outcomes!  This  statement validated what we have seen in older renowned, controlled  studies. Some of the benefits these studies revealed:


Benefits of a doula during labor and immediate postpartum 

  • 50% reduction in Cesarean rate
  • 25% shorter labor
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests
  • 40% reduction in need for medications to speed labor
  • 40% reduction in need for forceps/vacuum extractor
  • 30% reduction in use of other (analgesic) pain medication
  • Reduction in use of episiotomies
  • Increased confidence in self and in partner/coach
  • Higher success rate in breastfeeding
  • Increased satisfaction with birth experience
  • Mother views baby more positively
  • Continuity in care: prenatal, labor, birth and immediate postpartum
  • Lowers anxiety/stress levels
  • Babies have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries


Benefits to mothers six weeks after birth

  • Less anxiety and depression
  • More confidence with the baby
  • More satisfaction with their partner


Long term benefits of using a doula  

  • Improved breastfeeding
  • Increased time spent with baby
  • More positive maternal assessments of baby's personality and health,
    and maternal competence
  • Decreased postpartum depression

SOURCE: "Mothering the Mother," by M.H. Klaus, J.H. Kennell, and P.H. Klaus; Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, New York (1993

The Do's and Dont's of a Labor Doula

 

  • ​I DO provide physical support of the laboring mother and spouse/non-birth partner
  • I DO provide emotional support during all stages of labor
  • I DO encourage the mother to seek care that reflects her values and needs
  • I DO provide evidenced-based information of interventions and care in a non-biased manner
  • I DO encourage informed consent
  • I DO encourage self-advocacy
  • I DO facilitate open and respectful communication
  • I DO assist in the first feedings and bonding
  • I do NOT make decisions for or speak on behalf of my clients
  • I do NOT give medical advice
  • I do NOT diagnose medical conditions
  • I do NOT perform clinical procedures or assessments​
  • I do NOT transport any family members