What is a doula?

A birth doula is someone who gives support to expectant women and their partners through pregnancy, labor and the birth of their baby. The support that is offered is emotional, educational, comforting, encouraging and spiritual. Support is not offering advice or judging, it’s listening, touching and caring. It’s educating so the woman can make the right decision for her, her partner and their baby. The doula, in most cases, has built a trusting relationship before labor begins, but occasionally doulas are hired when a woman goes into labor. The support of a doula has been known to make labors shorter and with less intervention.

Women who received continuous labor support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have pain medication, epidurals, vacuum, forceps or C-sections. As well labors were found to be 40 minutes shorter.

- A study by Dr. Ellen D. Hodnett and Richard W. Osborn -