What is a Doula?

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.

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 decision
  • 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
A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).

**Definition courtesy of DONA International. www.DONA.org

Statistics of Doula Support

The authors of Mothering the Mother, present the results of 6 randomized studies, completed in various countries including the United States.  The mothers were first time mothers, and were asked to participicate upon arrival at their hospital or birthing center.  The results showed that the mothers who had received doula support had a:

50% decrease in cesarean sections
25% decrease in the length of labor
30% decrease in use of forceps
40% decrease in use of oxytocin
60% decrease in use of epidruals
30% decrease in use of pain medications (narcotics)

In addition, there are many long term benefits of labor support which include:

-Improved Breastfeeding
-Decreased Postpartum Depression
-Greater Maternal Satisfaction
-Better Mother-Infant Interaction

A Tender Touch       New York, NY 10040