What is a Doula?
Did you know that many languages don't have a comparable word to doula? The word doula is derived from a Greek word and was first coined in a 1969 anthropological study.
In short, a doula is a birth coach. When you have a doula by your side, you have someone that you can depend on to help you with any questions, concerns, and situations that may arise. This takes many of the typical stresses away, allowing you to focus purely on you and your loved ones and helping establish a more positive birth experience.
Studies have shown that doulas provide many benefits, including improved maternal and fetal health, lower risk of inductions and interventions, and much more. This is particularly true when the doula is not a friend or family member.
Being a Doula, From My Perspective
As a birth doula and member of DONA (Doulas of North America), it is my job to accompany you in labor, suggest comfort measures, provide emotional, physical and partner support and advocate for your wishes as laid out in the birth plan or prenatal conversations. It is also my job to advocate for your wishes by mediating, negotiating and encouraging you to ask questions and express your own preferences and concerns to care providers. Should changes in the plan occur it is my job to assist you in incorporating such changes into your plan and enhance communication between you and care providers. It is also my job to provide prenatal and postpartum emotional support, including explanation of practices and procedures and assistance in acquiring the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions.
Busting Doula Myths
Doulas are different from midwives and others on the medical team. The doula's job is not to take over for the partner but instead to assist the partner in performing their absolute best for the situation. This chart shows the differences between all these individuals.
Many believe doulas only provide services to families who are hoping for non-medicated vaginal breech births. In fact, there is a lot that we can do for all birthing individuals. The following testimonial and attached image is from a client who did everything they could to turn their breech baby around. Unfortunately their little one was unable to turn and they were left with a planned cesarean birth.