The word doula is Greek for “a woman who serves”. A doula is “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother and her husband or partner before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.”
Research shows that women who use a birth doula are:
• Less likely to need Pitocin
• Less likely to have a cesarean birth
• Less likely to use any pain medication
• More likely to have a shortened labor
• More likely to rate their childbirth experience as positive
A midwife is responsible for all medical aspects of your labor and delivery (for example, vaginal exams, fetal heart rate monitoring and blood pressure checks). The primary focus of a midwife is on the health and well being of the mother and baby. While medical tasks are outside of a doula’s scope of practice, a doula is trained to understand the physical, emotional and psychological needs of a laboring woman. She is a constant labor companion, staying by your side from the start of labor through birth.
My role as your doula is never to take the place of the father during labor. If your partner wants to play an active role in your labor and birth, I can encourage them in ways to best support you. The father can participate as he feels comfortable at each moment. Having a doula present not only allows the father to take a break without leaving the mother alone, but having a doula also takes the pressure off dad to remember everything he learned in childbirth classes. Studies show that fathers have a more positive experience when a doula is present.
My role as your doula does not include me speaking on your behalf. However, I want to help connect you with evidence-based resources so you can ask great questions and make informed decisions about your birth. I give my clients the tools and encouragement to advocate for their own best care.
As your doula, I am on call for you 24/7 and will come whenever you and your partner need me. There are no shift changes for a doula, as there are for other care providers.
DONA International is the world’s leading doula certifying organization. Created in 1992, DONA International professionalized the role of the doula and set the standard for doula education and training. DONA’s mission statement is to “promote high quality birth and postpartum support by setting the standard for the doula profession through evidence-based training and certification for doulas of diverse backgrounds.”
For more information about DONA International visit www.dona.org.
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Using a handheld, battery-operated device, mild electrical impulses are transmitted through the skin to stimulate nerve fibers. TENS is a safe, non-drug method of pain control for backache in labor.
The laboring woman controls the TENS unit herself. She has the freedom to walk and move as she wishes while using the TENS, because it is small and portable.