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WHAT IS A DOULA?

“a doula is like having your best friend’s support, without the baggage”
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 rotating2emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

A BIRTH DOULA:
• Recognizes birth as a key 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

BENEFITS OF DOULA:
• 26% less likely to give birth by cesarean sectionlaboring in tub
• 41% less likely to give birth with a vacuum extractor or forceps
• 28% less likely to use any analgesia or anesthesia
• 33% less likely to be dissatisfied or negatively rate their birth experience
• Reduces length of labor
• 6 weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas were:
◦ Less anxious and depressed
◦ Had more confidence with baby
◦ More satisfied w/ partner
◦ More likely to be breastfeeding
(taken directly from www.dona.org)

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