What is a Doula?

Many people are curious as to what a doula is and why they would want one. 

The word doula is a greek word that literally means “female servant.” What a doula has come to mean in our culture is a person that provides informational, physical, and emotional support to people throughout their pregnancies, labors, and immediate postpartum periods. There are doulas that solely work with people giving birth and also postpartum doulas that support someone after their birth.

Do you know all of the incredible benefits that studies have shown doulas provide? 

Decreased medical intervention in labor*:

Reduces need for cesarean by 26%

Reduces the need for forceps or vacuum extractor by 41%

Reduces use of pain medication by 28%

Reduces dissatisfaction with birth by 33%

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

*These statistics appear in Hodnett E, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003. Issue 3, Art. No. CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.

For more about the research, see DONA’s position paper.


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