What Is a Birth Doula?
A doula is an essential birth labor support provider, who stands beside a birthing mother unconditionally. During the client's pregnancy, a doula may offer personalized education and assistance in preparing the mom for birth. During labor, a doula's role is supplementary to the mother's partner. A doula will enable the mother's partner to be fully focused on her at this time; doulas will support the mother's partner so that he/she may participate at their own comfort level. Additionally, a doula will give special consideration to single moms or those whose partners cannot be present at the birth, making them an advocate from beginning to end.
A doula provides support in labor and birth according to the mom's needs and wishes, though usually it will consist of helpful comfort and relaxation measures, emotional encouragement, education and practical helps (i.e. fetching ice chips/juice to keep the partner from having to leave the room).
Labor support may begin in the mother's home or in the hospital, wherever she prefers. Once the baby is born, a doula provides assistance to the mother with breastfeeding and bonding with her new baby and ensures that mom and baby get off to the right start.
Doulas are not medical professionals and do not make decisions for the mother or perform clinical tasks.
*NOVA Birth Services are not affiliated with Inova.