what is a doula

What is a Doula?

Nowadays, more and more moms-to-be are choosing to experience the miracle of birth in more meaningful and memorable ways. With greater access to safe and natural birthing options, well informed mothers are able to take control of their labor and delivery, preparing birth plans and enlisting trained professionals committed to a mother’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being in all stages of the birth experience. A Doula is one such professional.

what is a doula

Photo credit: Jason

What is a doula?

Well trained in childbirth, a doula is an expert non-medical person, dedicated to a mother’s safe, empowered and meaningful labor and delivery. A doula supports a mom-to-be, helping her maintain a healthy lifestyle while pregnant, preparing her for labor, assisting her in creating her birth plan, being emotionally present for her in all stages of labor and delivery and sometimes even assisting in post-birth concerns like breastfeeding and post-partum depression.

Doulas take on the role of a mother’s “champion”, making her feel more confident and empowered during the entire birthing experience. In a doula-mother partnership, a mother has someone to talk to about her concerns and fears as well as her wishes, without fear or insecurity or having to doubt her body’s natural design and ability to bring forth life.

The benefits of hiring a doula

Having a doula encompasses a wide range of benefits that stem from having your personal advocate during a stressful, exhausting and emotionally draining experience. Doulas provide mothers with a better understanding of the birth process and emphasize that each experience is unique for each mom. They provide comfort and a soothing presence while making sure that a mother is able to fulfil her wishes for labor without compromising her safety and the well-being of her infant. A doula also complements a mother’s support group by being an accessible and reliable resource person for their questions and concerns, and as a source of emotional reassurance for the husband or partner and other members of the family.

Studies have shown that mothers who have doulas present during labor are more likely to have more positive birthing experiences without much unnecessary medical intervention.

How to find a doula

Because of the doula’s significant role in your birth experience, it is important to find a person you are comfortable with. Find someone who is able to understand your personality, someone you feel secure and confident with. Communication is key to a successful partnership, thus, it is important you have a doula you can really talk to. Ask friends or family members who have experience with doulas. There are also online resources and directories that can refer you to well trained doulas. You may also check with local parenting groups, health and maternity centers, clinics and hospitals in your area.

It is a woman’s unique privilege to bring forth life into the world. No matter how you choose to give birth, whether via natural delivery or a caesarean section, home birth or hospital birth, with medication or without, consider having a doula to help you have a more empowered, memorable and meaningful labor and birth experience.

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