The Doula

By JennaRich (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A Doula comforts a mother during a hospital birth.

A Doula is someone trained to provide emotional and physical comfort and care for laboring/birthing mothers.

In the typical hospital setting many women are left to labor alone, It is clear that mothers labor more easily when they receive continuous support throughout the birth process, a level of care that hospital staff are unable to provide. Typically all labor coaching falls on the shoulders of her partner, placing unnecessary strain on someone who likely has no experience.

It can be especially stressful for father-to-be, clearly out of their element. The presence of a female companion, during labor, birth and postpartum, has been proven to produce better outcomes for both mother and baby.  For partners and family members, the Doula adds stability and becomes a pillar for coping.

Studies have shown that a trained Doula is able to provide the best service for the mother in her care if that Doula is not an employee of the hospital system. As an independent Doula, her priority will be to look after the comfort and needs of the the mother, rather than functioning as an employee of the hospital.

Midwives working in collaboration with certified Doulas have the opportunity to find common ground in support of better childbirth outcomes for mothers and babies.

doula support - By Senado Federal (Fotos produzidas pelo Senado) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

From Robin Lim, CPM:

Midwives face many challenges balancing professionalism, responsibilities of the job, the desire to give each laboring/birthing mother continuous care, in both out-of-hospital & hospital birth settings. I have found that even while practicing midwifery in high risk, low resource environments, like Indonesia after earthquakes, tsunamis and terrorist bombings, Philippines following typhoons, that optimal Mother/Baby care is best achieved by collaborating with Doulas.

Doulas make space for midwives and doctors to improve their performance at birth, just by lowering the birthing mothers stress, thereby reducing the strain on midwives and collaborating Ob/gyns.

The laboring mother’s partner often find that having a Doula is very helpful and reassuring.

Too many families are finding that after the birth, rather than basking in the joy of welcoming a newborn, they are coping with trauma from a birth that had too many unwelcome surprises.

A well trained Doula may greatly help to prevent trauma in childbirth, for the mother, the baby and the entire family.

I firmly believe: Doulas are here to stay. Women love them. By forging progressive partnerships, BirthKeepers and families may enter into a more enlightened age of optimal, respectful Mother/Baby care, highlighted by improved outcomes and happier, more satisfied mothers.

Traditional birth: Indigenous doula program includes ceremony for expectant mothers


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