Doula is a strange word, often mispronounced or misunderstood. It comes from the Greek word for 'female slave' but the modern definition describes a doula as 'a woman without formal obstetric training who is employed to provide guidance and support during labour.' In other words.... a doula is there to support you emotionally and practically, ensuring you journey through your labour and birth in the way that feels right for you.
A doula can nurture you throughout your birth providing massage, relaxation, encouraging movement and comfortable positions for labour or just be there for you, holding the space for you to feel safe and cared for.
Doulas are also there to support fathers, partners, grandparents. Whoever is there for you, doulas are there for them too. They are not there to take the place of your birthing partner, but to support, encourage and enhance the birthing experience for you both.
A doula will be there to ease the emotional experience of birth and focus on your needs and wishes, making sure you feel listened to and empowered to make the choices that are right for you.
Research shows the following benefits for births supported by a doula:
"Continuous support in labour may improve outcomes for both mother and baby.....continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman's own network, is experienced in providing labour support...(such as a doula), appears beneficial." (Cochrane, 2017)