What is a doula?
The word ‘doula’ — pronounced ‘doo-la’ — is a Greek word meaning ‘woman servant or caregiver’. More recently, it refers to someone who offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth. A doula (also known as a birth attendant) believes in ‘mothering the mother’. She enables a woman and her partner to have the most satisfying birth experience possible, from pregnancy and into motherhood. This type of support allows the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience too. (Source: https://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/doulas-what-is-a-doula/)
What do doulas do?
- Provides emotional support.
- Use comfort measures: breathing, relaxation, movement, positioning, etc.
- Continuously reassures & comforts (the key word is continuous—a doula never leaves your side).
- Helps you become informed about various birth choices.
- Advocates for you & helps facilitate communication between you & care provider.
- Looks after your partner as well.
What won’t doulas do?
- Doulas are NOT medical professionals.
- We do not perform clinical tasks such as vaginal exams or fetal heart monitoring.
- We do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions.
- We do not judge you for decisions that you make.
- We do not let our personal values or biases get in the way of caring for you (for example, we should not pressure you into making any decisions just because that’s what we prefer).
- We do not take over the role of your partner.
- We do not deliver the baby.
- We do not change shifts.