What is a doula?
In ancient Greek, the word “doula” translates to “a woman who serves”. In modern times, the term doula has come to denote a non-medical caregiver for expectant mothers, and their families, throughout their pregnancy, birth and beyond.
In Klaus, Kennel and Klaus’ book, Mothering the Mother, a doula is described as “a woman experienced in childbirth who proved continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.”
Will a doula replace my partner?
Absolutely not! A doula will work hard to assist your partner in supporting you. In fact, a woman's partner often feels more able to participate in her labour and birthing experience with a doula present, because of the supportive suggestions that a doula will provide. Since most partners are not experienced with the details of childbirth, it can be an immense relief to have the calm and steadfast support of a doula who is well versed in the birth process.
Why do I need a doula?
Choosing to hire a doula for your journey into motherhood means having the continuous support of a woman who is experienced in childbirth and who will remain by your side throughout your birthing experience. Despite their individual desires, due to busy schedules and intense workloads, most obstetricians and nurses are unable to provide this type of support to the labouring women in their practice.
A doula works to support her clients in addition to their primary caregiver (obstetrician, midwife) by providing physical and emotional comfort measures, including massage, acupressure, aromatherapy, positioning, movement, breathing and so much more.
The benefits of hiring a doula have also been outlined in Klaus, Kennel and Klaus' Mothering the Mother: