The word “doula” is an ancient Greek word meaning “woman’s servant”. A doula is a non-medical person who provides continuous emotional, physical, and spiritual support to a woman before, during, and after childbirth. A doula is someone who explains options and supports a woman in her choices before, during, and after childbirth. She helps manage pain through comfort measures. A doula complements the care provided by the woman’s partner and birth attendants. A doula protects and nurtures the memory of the birth experience because she understands the impact birth has on a woman’s life.
Benefits of continuous doula support in labor:
- Reduction of epidural use by 16%
- Reduction in forceps and vacuum extractor deliveries by 32%
- Reduction in cesarean deliveries by 21%
- Reduction in length of labor
- Reduction in oxytocin augmentation (use of Pitocin) by 71%