What is a doula?

Doula is a Greek word meaning “in the service of Women

 

“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it”
 Dr John H Kennell

A doula offers continual emotional support, education and physical comfort to the mother before, during and after the birth, whether at home or in the hospital.


A doula’s primary responsibility is to the person giving birth - not to the hospital administrator, nurse, midwife, or doctor. While the midwife cares for the safety of the woman and the baby, a doula cares deeply  for the emotional and physical wellbeing  of the woman.


Doulas nurture and support the new mother throughout labor and birth. They provide continuous support to the mother, no matter what decisions the mother makes or how she gives birth. 


Many studies have shown the positive effects of the presence of a doula during and after childbirth. 


According to a systematic review of 21 randomized controlled trials (1), doula-supported women are: 


•    28% less likely to have a caesarean section 
•    31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labour 
•    9% less likely to use any pain medication
•    34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively

 

(1) Bohren  MA, Hofmeyr  GJ, Sakala  C, Fukuzawa  RK, Cuthbert  A. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub6.