How can a doula help me?

belly

A birth doula is a professional labor assistant, trained and experienced in childbirth. Her primary responsibility is to you. You benefit from the loving relationships in your life, and the presence of loved ones with you during birthing. The purpose of labor support from a doula is to bring knowledge of the birth process; reassurance; knowledge of non-medical comfort and physical support; and emotional support for both you and those close to you. A doula also assists you in gathering information about the course of your labor and your options. She is your advocate and customizes her role according to your needs.

Most importantly, a doula provides continuous emotional support and comfort throughout your entire labor and immediate post-partum. Doulas are not hospital employees and have no other commitments while attending you. Doctors and even midwives have many responsibilities, while nurses are usually keeping track of multiple laboring women; they are infrequently with you during the majority of your labor.

Benefits of a Doula

Time and again research has shown that continuous labor support by a caregiver who is not part of the medical staff or within a woman's social circle conveys both obstetrical and emotional benefits; reducing interventions and increasing satisfaction for the mother and family. Use of a doula provides clear benefits with no known risks. Every woman deserves to have a doula or other trained labor support person with her during labor and birth.

The 2011 Cochrane Review of research found that women who received one-to-one continuous support vs. "usual care" were:

doula with mom

(Sources: The Doula Book by Klaus, Kennell and Klaus
Continuous support for women during childbirth(review) by The Cochrane Collaboration 2011)

Commonalities of a Doula

For more information about the benefits of doulas check out:
DONA International
Baby Moon (Lexington, KY)