- A Doula recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
- She understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
- She assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
- Stays with the woman throughout the labor
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
- Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
- Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
- A doula supports women and their families in achieving the birth that they desire.
- Doulas attend births in hospitals, homes, and birthing centers.
- A doula provides continuous physical comfort, emotional support, and information to women during labor
- A doula does not replace the partner’s role during childbirth; she provides guidance for the partner as needed
- A doula supports the woman’s decisions and does not force her own viewpoint
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, 25% shorter labors are experienced. 50% less c-sections, 60% less likely to request epidural, with overallfewer complications, and the babies are much healthier post birth.