What Is A Doula?

Ever since I first started talking about doulas
{6 years ago when I was looking for one 
to be a member of my birth team} 
I have been asked this question:


Here is the short answer:

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.

Here's a bit more detail:

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
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 decisions
  • 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

Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.

A Postpartum Doula
  • Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
  • Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
  • Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary

Information taken directly from

It's World Doula Week, yo!  
March 22-28th
The purpose of World Doula Week ("WDW") 
is to empower doulas all over the world 
to improve the physiological, social, emotional, 
and psychological health of women, newborns and families
 in birth and in the postpartum period.

1 comment: said...

I once heard it explained as a mother-in-law for hire. :)