What is a Birth Doula?


One dad once said, "Going to a birth without a doula is like going to court without a lawyer."

A birth doula is an individual who provides continuous care for a laboring woman and her partner during labor and birth. She helps them participate fully in their experience by offering physical and emotional support, information about the birth process, and information about available technology and alternatives. Doulas draw on their knowledge and experience to help ensure that women have the information they need to make informed decisions during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. Doulas can provide reassurance and perspective to a woman and her partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort.


Ultimately, a doula will strive to do whatever necessary to help women and their partners have a good birth and postpartum experience, as the mother and her partner define it.


What is the value of a doula?

–from DONA International www.dona.org

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth…

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug)
  • reduces the need for forceps or vacuum extraction
  • reduces the need for Cesareans
  • reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals


Research shows parents who receive support…

  • feel more secure and cared for
  • are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
  • have greater success with breastfeeding
  • have greater self-confidence
  • have less postpartum depression
  • have lower incidence of abuse


“Being a doula isn’t just what I do…it is who I am.” ~unknown

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