Birth doulas (also called childbirth assistants, labor support professionals, birth assistants, or birth companions) provide emotional, physical and informational support during pregnancy, labor, birth and immediate postpartum.  Doulas work with families during pregnancy to prepare them for birth.  They educate women about their choices, teach comfort measures for labor, and build confidence in a woman’s ability to give birth.  A doula accompanies women in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. Doulas can provide reassurance and perspective to mothers and partners (if present), make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort.


 Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals
Research shows parents who receive support can:

  • feel more secure and cared for
  • are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
  • have greater success with breastfeeding
  • have greater self-confidence
  • have less postpartum depression
  • have lower incidences of abuse          
     
A doula does not:

  • Perform clinical tasks, such as taking blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and so forth.
  • Make decisions for you. Doulas will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision.