What Is a Doula?
For thousands of years, women have had a friend or family member offering physical and emotional support during delivery. For most of that time, it was a mother, sister, or good friend who provided this support. Today, labor support professionals called doulas (pronounced DOO-lahs; Greek for "woman who serves") are trained to provide the comfort and care women need during labor. They essentially are mothering the soon-to-be mothers.
The services that a doula provides can include:
- Explanations of medical procedures
- Emotional support
- Advice during pregnancy
- Suggestions to make pregnancy more comfortable
- Help with preparation of a birth plan
- Massage and other nonpharmacological pain relief measures
- Positioning suggestions during labor and birth
- Support for partners and other family members during labor
- Communication with the obstetrician to avoid unnecessary interventions
- Help with breastfeeding
- A written record of the birth