What is a Doula?

A birth doula is a woman with training and experience who provides non-medical support to a woman in childbirth. A doula does not replace a doctor, nurse or midwife, and neither does she replace a partner, parent or friend. Doulas have a distinct role in the birth support team with flexibility for who else is attending the birth and how the mother prefers to be supported. She helps her client prepare to give birth and provides emotional and physical support throughout labour until the baby is born.

As a doula, my goal is to walk with you through the intense and transformative experience of childbirth. Before labour, I will meet with you to learn your hopes and any fears you hold, I will work with you to prepare a birth plan, and I will give you research-based information on which to base your choices. I will not speak for you or pressure you to choose a certain kind of birth.

A doula is distinct from a midwife or nurse because she does not perform any medical tasks. She is able to focus completely on the mother’s emotional needs, in co-operation with the midwife/nurse who give support while ensuring the mother and baby’s good health. A doula does not change shifts, and she does not work with any other patients during your birth.

A doula also provides different support than a loving partner or friend. While the love of a support person for you and your baby goes deep, most people in our society have limited experience with childbirth and may be overwhelmed by the intensity of your experience. A doula allows for your partner to participate in supporting you at their level of comfort without leaving gaps, and she can help them shine by instilling confidence, making suggestions, and allowing for them to take breaks if needed (labour is hard work for everyone, not just Mom!).

Want to know more about doulas? Check out:

What is a Doula? – DONA International
The Evidence for Doulas – EvidenceBasedBirth.com
Why Having a Doula was One of the Best Decisions I’ve Ever Made – RedandHoney.com