A Doula is a woman experienced in childbirth that provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and after childbirth. A doula’s role is often described as “Mothering the Mother”.

No. A midwife performs medical tasks as a doctor would.  A doula may be present during labors ranging from home birthing with midwives to high risk hospital births with Obstetricians.

Continuous support from a doula during labor provides physical and emotional benefits for mothers and health bonuses for their babies.
                     -The Harvard Health Letter


Studies show that women who have a Doula
  • experience less pain and anxiety in labor
  • feel that they cope better
  • have a heightened appreciation of their bodies’ strength and performance and themselves as women
  • breastfeed longer
  • have less difficulty mothering
  • have less postpartum depression

 Studies also show that a doula can reduce

  • the length of labor
  • the use of pain medication
  • the need for IV Ocytocin (Pitocin) to stimulate stronger contractions
  • the likelihood of having an episiotomy
  • the percentage of instrumental deliveries (forceps, vacuum suction)
  • chances of a Caesarian delivery

The studies referenced above took place in different countries with different populations of women under different circumstances and consistently found similar results.

 



Yes, but not continuously, and not for long periods of time. 

  • If you are in a hospital,your midwife may be attending more than one birth. If at home, the midwife will be focused primarily on your physical condition and your baby’s.
  • Studies show that the average labor and delivery nurse spends only 15 minutes of her 8 hour shift comforting, supporting, and advocating for her patients.
  • Most obstetricians on call are attending to many births at the same time. They are usually only with you for intermittent checks and when it is time to deliver the baby.
  • Most hospitals have fewer than one labor nurse per patient and shifts will probably change during your labor.  Your nurse will change when the shift changes.
  • Obstetricians are not trained in comfort measures and non-medical techniques to relieve pain and to help labor progress.   Their focus is on delivering your baby safely, not providing emotional and physical support.


Of course!
A good doula will enhance rather than detract from the partner’s support by

  • providing instruction and advice for comfort measures in all stages of labor
  • remaining with you while your partner takes a break for fresh air, food, or sleep
  • helping to calm and reassure your partner as you progress through labor
  • explaining events and procedures in a non-medical way so that you may make informed decisions

"Studies found that fathers whose partners had a doula were more likely to offer physical comfort measures and equally likely to offer emotional support.  Interviewed afterward, fathers uniformly liked having a doula and did not feel that she interfered with their role.”
                    ~The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer.


 



A postpartum doula  provides non-medical support and helps to create a nurturing environment for the mother, partner, and baby.

During the first few weeks at home, it can be very useful to have a neutral presence to help you get comfortable with caring for your new little one. Unlike a baby nurse, I will make sure the entire family is nurtured and cared for while getting comfortable in their new roles.

My role as a  doula is not to assume primary responsibility for the newborn, but to assist the mother and her partner in their new role as parents so they can bond with and gain confidence in taking care of their baby.