“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” (1998)- John H. Kennell, MD
What in the world is a doula?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, a doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical and educational support to pregnant women, women experiencing labor and who have recently given birth. The doula’s purpose is to help women have a supportive, memorable, and empowering birthing experience. Regardless if the woman chooses natural birth, epidural, home-birth, hospital birth, or cesarean, the woman should be supported and empowered by a doula.
Most often the term doula refers to the birth doula or labor support companion. However, there are also antepartum doulas (before birth) and postpartum doulas (after birth).
What a doula is not?
A doula is NOT your mother, husband, partner, family member, or clinical healthcare provider! Or a hippy earthy granola eating woman. Well okay, maybe sometimes.
These people are very much important and their importance during the birthing process are vital but they are no substitute for having a doula. A doula can not give you medical advice but will fully support you in any decision you make during the birthing process. Doulas are trained professionals that are certified by various organizations who are committed to the development of compassionate and supportive doulas.
Because the birthing experience does not have to be scary! (Surprise)
Much research has been done that shows when a woman is supported by a doula she has a more positive birthing experience. Overall, women who have received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, their labors were shorter by approximately 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth.