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Birth Doula Services:
What is a Doula?

What is a Doula?

A birth doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth. Studies have shown that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

A birth doula:

  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level

Benefits of a Doula

On birth outcomes:

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 (women are 33% less likely to negatively rate their birth experience)
  • reduces the use of pitocin/synthetic oxytocin to augment labour (by 31%)
  • reduces the use of forceps or vacuum extraction (by 41%)
  • reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals (by 28%)
  • reduces the incidence of cesareans (by 26%)

For the mother:

When a doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression.

For the baby:

Studies have shown that babies born with doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer cases of low Apgars scores requiring NICU transfer (admissions to special care nurseries), breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.

For the partner/father:

With a doula, a father can share in the birth at the level at which he feels most comfortable. The doula’s skills and knowledge can help him to feel more relaxed. If the father wants to provide physical comfort, such as back massage and change of positions, and help his partner to stay focused during contractions, the doula can provide that guidance and make suggestions for what may work best.

*source: DONA International