What is a Birth Doula?
If you are pregnant, know someone who is, or are simply thinking of having children in the future, consider having a Doula at the birth. The word doula comes from the Greek and means ‘woman caregiver of another woman’. It is often said that doulas “mother the mother” but they offer more than this.
A doula provides emotional, informational and physical support to the birthing woman (and her partner) and remains by the woman’s side during the entire labour. She helps moms manage labour with evidence-based methods of pain relief such as relaxation techniques, tension-releasing breathing, position changes, visualization and appropriate touch and massage. She does not, however, perform any medical procedures. A doula is not the same thing as a midwife! Doulas work in any birthing setting with midwives, doctors, obstetricians and nurses.
Research has shown that doula support before, during and after labour can decrease the length of labour, reduce the need for pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) or pain medications and epidurals. There is evidence that doula support can also reduce the number of forceps deliveries and cesarean sections. Some other benefits of having a doula may be improved breast feeding and decreased postpartum depression.
There is an abundance of research coming out on the many benefits to mothers and babies who are well supported in their birthing experiences with qualified doulas. Those first moments together between newborns and their parents can have long lasting positive impacts on baby’s well-being.
Before, during and after births, Doulas provide nurturing, helpful, non-judgemental and objective support and facilitate the involvement of any family members chosen to be present.
Besides labour support, most doulas also provide some prenatal and postpartum services such as helping you explore all your birthing options, building a plan for the birth, building a postpartum plan for managing life with a newborn! Doulas are skilled in supporting breastfeeding/bottle feeding options and help solve the mysteries of newborn care.
Doulas are in touch with a wealth of community resources and help to ease the transition back into community life as new parents.
Comox Valley Doulas