What is a doula?
The word doula (δούλα) comes from ancient Greece, and it means an experienced woman who helps another woman.
The support of doula is individual for each family. Mainly it's emotional support for the new mother, explaining what she does not understand, helping her get ready for childbirth in the way that is suitable for the mother and her family. During labour, doula cares about comfort, and is often the main source of power.
With her knowledge, doula helps parents to gently slide into their new roles.
A doula will promote natural labour progression by providing comfort for the mother through the use of:
safe, supportive environment
techniques for pain relief;
relaxing breathing techniques;
variety of labour positions;
massage and acupressure;
or any other pain-relieving method;
music and photography.
During the process of labour, doula can help the mother articulate her wishes to others. This creates a wonderful, supportive environment for the mother. Doula can also remain objective and assist in helping the parents understand any birth interventions and the associated risks or benefits. This allows both partners to make informed decisions.
A baby enters the world as a person, with his temperament and needs. At this stage, doula helps parents get to know their baby, and understand what is best for the new family.
Returning home with a newborn, new parents usually have a lot of questions and confusion.
Postpartum doula offers:
support for breastfeeding issues;
care for the new mother, the child and the whole family a few weeks after giving birth;
newborn care (diapering , swaddling, umbilical cord care, bathing and etc.);
tips for household management;
meal preparation, small shopping , or another important job done for you;
helping partner to engage in taking care of baby.
Remember! The role of the doula is not to replace, but rather to compliment, the partner, so that they can work together to help the mother through the labour and the wonderful process of birth. Research proves that having a doula present during labour, has very positive effect on the partner, which, in many cases, can increase the bonding between the partner and baby.
Studies have shown that choosing a professional birth doula, helps mother feel calmer, more balanced, and have more confidence in her abilities. That helps achieve a better birth outcome:
50% less likely to have caesarean birth;
25% reduction in duration of delivery;
60% will reduce the number of requests for epidural anaesthesia;
Less likely to need Pitocin;
30% less likely to use any pain medication;
More likely to rate their childbirth experience as positive.