What is a Doula?
Birth Doula: A woman trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a woman during labor, birth and the immediate postpartum period.
Postpartum Doula: A woman trained to care for new families in the first weeks after birth providing household help, advice with newborn care and infant feeding, and emotional support.
How doulas practice:
Privately, hired directly by clients
As hospital employees
As volunteers in community or hospital programs
©DONA 2002 Permission granted to freely reproduce in whole or in part with complete attribution.
Why You and Your Baby Deserve a Doula
Although the idea is centuries old, the benefits of a Doulas one-on-one care have only recently been documented in several separate studies. Studies of Doula assisted births worldwide showed decreases in:
Cesarean birth by 51%
Pitocin use by 71%
Narcotics use by 35%
Forceps use by 57%
Length of labor by 98 minutes
Even among the best-educated and best-supported women in North America, the latest studies show that having Doula support decreases:
Cesarean birth by 21%
Forceps/vacuum extraction use by 32%
Epidural use by 16%
Effects on birth outcomes: Eleven studies showed the following effects of doula support...
-Labors are shorter
-Greater satisfaction with childbirth-Babies have shorter hospital stays and fewer admissions to special care nurseries
- The cost of obstetrical care is dramatically reduced
- Women are pleased with the personalized care doulas offer
The benefit of continuous support in labor is recognized by:The World Health Organization, The Medical Leadership Council (an organization of over 1200 U.S. hospitals), The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada