About doulas

What is a birth doula?

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

What is a postpartum doula?

-Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester

-Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying

-Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary

Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.

Benefits to Having a Doula

Recent studies demonstrate that the presence of a Doula may result in:

  • 50% decrease in caesarian deliveries
  • 25% decrease in length of labor
  • 40% decrease in use of oxytocin/pitocin
  • 60% decrease in use of Epidural
  • 30% decrease in use of pain medications (narcotics)
  • 30% decrease in use of forceps

In addition, long term benefits to doula use include:

  • Decreased anxiety and incidence of postpartum depression
  • More successful breastfeeding
  • Higher satisfaction with her birth experience
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Higher regard for their babies and their ability to care for them

References for this page

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