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What is a Doula?

If you are not quite sure what a birth doula is or what they would do, you are not alone! I often get a blank stare when someone asks me what I do.

dou·la (noun) - a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.

Studies have shown that having a doula’s support during birth there is:

  • 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin 

  • 28% decrease in the risk of Cesarean

  • 12% increase in the likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth

  • 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief

  • 14% decrease in the risk of newborn admission to special care nursery

  • 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience 

The word “doula” is a greek word meaning “servant of women.” A doula is considered to be a non-medically trained birth professional who provides emotional, physical and educational support to women and their families throughout pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. This could look different for every mom and family. Sometimes this looks like a calm presence in the room, reassuring you that everything you are experiencing is normal. Other times a doula is able to provide the birth partner with a nap or lunch break by being able to step in as primary support until they are back. And then sometimes, a doula can help mom and partner to better understand the medical lingo and any intervention that might be suggested so that they can make an informed decision about their health and the birth of their baby.

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