Just like people can hire tour guides for their trekking adventures, coaches for their sporting events and teachers for their studies, Doula's are the mentors and advocates of the birthing journey.
What are Doula’s?
Coming from a Greek word, Doula (pronounced doo-la) translates as ‘woman servant’ or ‘woman caregiver’. In ancient times, women always attended other women through their labour’s. This phenomenon is not new at all. Today, it is gaining popularity to seek assistance of doula's to help pregnant women (and their partner or families) during pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Doula’s are non-medical people (often women), who understand the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy and birth but do not have any clinical responsibilities. They are childbirth assistants that provide the woman and her partner with both emotional and physical support during the entire labour and birth and immediate postpartum period.
Given that there are many hopes and fears surrounding birth, all mothers and fathers can benefit from extra emotional support and help during pregnancy and labour. Having a nurturing and experienced doula can be a calming presence in the intensity of labour. Doula’s complement the support given by husbands, partners or midwives. They are experienced in providing birth support and can focus on your emotional and physical needs (without being distracted by clinical duties). Doula’s provide a precious and unique presence for women and families, in what ever setting they choose to birth.
Doula’s believe it is the woman’s right to birth where, how and with whom she wishes.
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Research done by Klaus et al (1993) and Hodnett et al (2011) concluded that support from a Doula enhances wellbeing of mothers and babies and leads to better outcomes.
Hodnett, E. D.; Gates, S.; Hofmeyr, G. J.; Sakala, C.; Weston, J. (2011). Continuous support for women during childbirth. In Hodnett, Ellen D. "Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews". Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
Klaus, M; Kennel, J; Klaus, P (1993). “Mothering the Mother; How a Doula can help you have a shorter, easier and healthier birth”. A Merloyd Lawrence Book, USA.