The word doula comes from the Greek language and means “caregiver”. Today the word is used to describe a trained and experienced labor companion who provides the laboring parent and their partner continuous emotional support, physical comfort and assistance in obtaining information before, during and just after childbirth.
As a doula, it is never my job to make decisions or speak for you but instead to help you gain information to make your own decisions and then to support the decisions you make.
As your birth doula I will
~ provide a 1.5 – 2hr prenatal visit to discuss your birth preferences and review/practice comfort measures which can be used during labor and delivery
~recognize birth as a key life experience you will remember all their life
~understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a person in labor
~assist you and your partner in preparing for and carrying out your plans for the birth
~stay by your side throughout the entire labor
~provide emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance you in getting the information they need to make good decisions
~facilitate communication between you, your partner and clinical care providers
~perceive my role as one who nurtures and protects your memory of the birth experience
A systematic review of the best available research (Hodnett 2002) found that the following four tufters made the greatest contribution to a parents’ satisfaction in childbirth:
- having good support from caregivers
- having a high-quality relationship with caregivers
- being involved in decision-making regarding care
- having better-than-expected experiences, or having high expectations
Having a doula can help increase your chances to achieve all of these things.