Doula is a Greek word for ‘woman servant’ or ‘caregiver’.
A doula . . .

  • Is a trained labour and birth ‘companion’ who will stay with a woman throughout her labour in order to help make the birth experience a positive and rewarding one
  • She understands the physiology of birth and the extremely important emotional needs of a woman in labour
  • Will provide continuity and familiarity during an unfamiliar event
  • Will support your choices in labour regarding pain relief; it is your body!
  • Will not replace the woman’s birth partner or midwife, she will work respectfully alongside them, as part of a team
  • Can enhance the understanding and communication between a labouring woman and medical staff
  • Will ensure that you are not left alone during labour when you need support
  • Does not advise, but encourages a mother-to-be to look at all her options. Doulas ‘mother the mother’
  • Does not diagnose or treat medical conditions, perform clinical tasks, project her own opinions onto a labouring woman or make decisions for her or her partner.

“There is no privacy without a feeling of security. Privacy has to be protected…in such an unfamiliar and strange environment, the doula is felt to be a protector. She is as protective as a mother would be.”
Michel Odent – ‘Birth and Breastfeeding’

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“Female companionship is the one element in care which has been shown to be the most effective in keeping birth normal.”
Sheila Kitzinger

Having a doula has been proven to reduce medical interventions dramatically. Women giving birth with a doula are much less likely to:

  • Request pain relief
  • Be artificially induced
  • Request an epidural
  • Have an assisted (instrumental) delivery
  • Have a caesarean section
  • Have a prolonged labourT & C 3
  • Have problems with initiating breastfeeding
  • Feel unable to continue breastfeeding
  • Have a negative outlook of their birthing experience
  • Feel a loss of confidence as a parent
  • Experience post-natal depression

“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” Dr. Marshall Klaus.