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:
On birth outcomes:
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
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.