Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Birth Doula?
A Birth Doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a woman,before, during , and after birth. The word “Doula” in its Greek origin was used to signify servant women, and has since come to mean women who assist other women through the experience of childbirth.
How does the presence of a Doula affect the experience of childbirth for mother and baby?
Clinical research studies have been conducted globally that prove the continuous physical and emotional support Doulas provide result in shorter labors with fewer complications, reduced use of pitocin (a labor-inducing drug) and other forms of labor intervention including forceps and vacuum extraction, reduced request for pain medication, a decrease in the likelihood of cesarean birth, and an increase in positive memory and reflection of the birth experience, even in cases where the mother was dissatisfied with the events of labor.
Does a Doula perform clinical tasks like a nurse, doctor, or midwife?
No, a Doula does not perform vaginal exams, blood pressure monitoring, fetal heart tone checks, or any other clinical tasks. A Doula’s role is in the physical and emotional comforts and benefits to the laboring mother.
Would a Doula usurp the role of my primary support person?
No, a Doula’s goal is to support the laboring mother and her support person(s), and is comfortable facilitating ways in which her partner may be more or less involved in the mother’s comfort. The Mother, Doula, and support person(s) work as a team. Some families wish to have a Doula actively ‘coaching’, others want a Doula to help facilitate ways the partner can be primarily involved with the mothers comfort, while others wish for the Doula to be more in the background, an encouraging, knowledgeable presence. The vision you have for your birth experience is taken seriously, and respected.
Does a Doula make decisions on my behalf?
No. Doulas provide informational support before and during labor to help you make decisions that are right for you, but those decisions will be made by you. The Doula does not have a personal agenda for your birth experience, and will not intervene in your clinical care. Your Doula will make sure you have all the information you need in order to make informed decisions, and will support you in those decisions, without judgment.
How do Doulas practice?
Doulas are usually self-employed, but may also provide volunteer services, or be employed by a hospital or local Doula co-op.