What is a Doula?

DOULA (DOO-LAH) IS A GREEK TERM FOR “WOMAN SERVANT”

  • A doula is a trained childbirth professional who help families have the best possible childbirth experience
  • Doulas work in homes, hospitals or birthing centers
  • Doulas are hired by the pregnant woman, usually in the 5th -7th month of pregnancy
  • Doulas assist all women in birth, regardless of medication choices and vaginal or cesarean birth
  • Doulas work with all healthcare providers during labor.
  • Tulsa Doulas have been supporting women in birth since 1993.

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​.
  • Reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans​​​.
  • When a Doula is present during and after childbirth, women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience, make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and requests for medical intervention, and less postpartum depression.
  • Studies have shown that babies born with Doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.​​
  • A Doula does not make decisions for clients or intervene in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman’s decisions.​
  • A Doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.​​

Birth Doulas: 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.

A Birth Doula:

  • Recognizes birth as a key life 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 decisions.
  • 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).

Postpartum Doulas: Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum Doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.​ Being a new parent, your postpartum Doula can help.​ Many new parents have had little or no parenting education and do not have support to help them through the postpartum weeks.

A Postpartum Doula:

  • Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester​.​​
  • Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying​.
  • Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary.

A postpartum Doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials PCD(DONA). ​For more information, please follow the link below for information regarding postpartum Doulas: ​​​​http://www.dona.org/mothers/faqs_postpartum.php​​​​