What is a doula?
A doula is an experienced woman who helps other women during labor and birth. Doulas provide emotional, physical, and informational support to a woman and her family throughout pregnancy and labor. She encourages women to advocate for themselves and make informed decisions.
The use of a doula reduces the use of Pitocin, pain relief medication, the length of labor, postpartum depression, the risk of Cesarean, and the likelihood of baby requiring special care after birth. It greatly increases the satisfaction a woman feels after birth, the time she spends with her newborn, and the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth.
None of this means that you must plan a spontaneous vaginal birth without pain medication in order to benefit from a doula. A doula can assist you with a medicated birth, an induction, and even a planned Cesarean.
I have a supportive partner. Do I still need a doula?
A doula is trained, has experience, and has a professional relationship with the client, rather than a personal one. The really interesting thing about a doula is that she can serve as a support for the mom’s support person, as well. She can teach dad, grandma, or mom’s best friend how to use massage, positioning, and other comfort measures, as well as allow them to take bathroom breaks, get some sleep, or grab a bite to eat – all without leaving mom alone.