Additional Information

What is a Doula?

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

A Birth Doula:

  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman’s partner to participate at his/her comfort level

How Can We Know That Having a Doula Will Help Us?

Studies show that the provision of continuous support during labour by doulas is associated with improved maternal and fetal health along with a variety of other benefits including:

  • Labours are 25% shorter
  • Cesarean rates are reduced by 50%
  • There is 40% less need for oxytocin to speed labour
  • Need for forceps is reduced by 40%
  • Women request 30% less pain medication and 60% fewer epidurals
  • There are fewer complications
  • Lower risk of medical interventions
  • Greater success with breastfeeding
  • Lower risk of postpartum depression