While not technically a medical professional, a doula can provide much-needed support before, during, and after your labor. From the Greek term meaning "most trusted female servant," doulas are trained to assist the woman and her partner in any way needed.
A doula can help you develop and implement a birth plan, provide comfort and support during the birth, facilitate communication with medical staff, and stay with you throughout your labor. A second type of doula, known as a postpartum doula, can help you with newborn care, breastfeeding support and advice, and even cooking and light cleaning.
For more information about Doulas of North America, go to www.dona.com.