Doulas Do:

Photograph taken in 1918

What is a doula?

-Believe that how a woman experiences her birth matters

-Have knowledge of the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of the laboring woman

-Help the woman understand her options and articulate her preferences without judgement and help her carry them out in labor

-Reassure the woman if she feels scared, unsure, or confused

-Have knowledge of and assist in comfort measures (positions, massage, hydrotherapy, counter-pressure techniques, relaxation)

-Provide continuous emotional and physical support during labor, birth, and the first moments of the baby's life

-Help the woman and her birth partner feel safe and supported

-Facilitates effective communication between the woman, her partner, and care providers

-Help the couple gain the information they need to make informed decisions

-Guide and reassure the birth partner in his or her role

"In nearly every culture throughout history women have been surrounded and cared for by other women during childbirth."                                  (DONA International Position Paper)

A doula is a non-medical birth support professional (usually a woman) who remains by the side of the mother continuously throughout labor and birth offering both physical and emotional supportShe is trained and experienced in childbirth and helps the mother adjust and cope with the physical and emotional challenges of labor and birth and reassures and guides her and the birth partner through the process. 

Doulas Don't:

-Perform medical or clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams or fetal heart tones

-Make decisions for you

-Speak on your behalf

-Behave combatively towards care providers

-Replace the father's or partner's role in the birth process