The word Doula comes from the ancient Greek word meaning “caregiver” or a “Woman who serves”.
- A midwife is someone who is a trained medical professional, that has gone through clinical training and received certification. When labor starts, a midwife generally comes to the hospital stays with you. She helps you transition through the labor and delivery of your baby. A midwife will deliver your baby and perform all the medical procedures.
- A Doula or Certified Childbirth Companion. They have a huge amount of knowledge of what is going on with your body during pregnancy. They give you emotional support throughout pregnancy and coach you through labor and delivery. She is with you as soon as you hire them. She will be available to answer questions and for support 24hours a day. She’s there to help you prepare and prepping you for what to expect once you go into labor.
Roles and responsibilities of doulas include:
The Doula accompanies the woman in labor, provides emotional and physical support. She suggests comfort measures and provides support and suggestions for the partner. Whenever possible, the Doula provides pre and postnatal support, including explanation and discussion of practices and procedures.
The doulas will also provide assistance in acquiring the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions. Doulas do not “prescribe” the treatment. Any suggestions of information provided within the role of the Doula must be done with the provision. She will advise the client to check with her primary care provider before using any application. They will help to create a birth plan and do a birth debriefing after the birth.
- Limits to practice
The Doula does not perform clinical or medical tasks. For example taking blood pressure or temperature, fetal heart tone checks, vaginal examinations, or postnatal clinical care. Standards apply to emotional and physical support only.
The Doula advocates for her client’s wishes as expressed in her birth plan, in prenatal conversations, and intrapartum discussions. She helps the mother incorporate changes in plans if and when the need arises, and enhances communication between client and caregiver. Client and Doulas must recognize that the advocacy role does not, include the Doula speaking on behalf of the client or making decisions for the client. The advocacy role is best described as support, information, and mediation or negotiation.
What are the benefits of a doula?
- Studies have found that the presence of a doula vastly improves the birth experience for the mother
- lowers intervention rates (like cesarean section and Pitocin), and shortens labor.
- The presence of a doula decreases birth interventions and drastically lowers the rates of epidural use.
- Decreases length of labor by 25 percent
- Cut the use of analgesia by 35 percent
- Reduces Pitocin augmentation by 40 percent
- Reduces epidural anesthesia use by 60 percent
- Decreases chances of needing a c-section by 51 percent
- Minimizes the use of forceps and vacuum by 30 percent
- Moms who choose to work with doulas have reported higher satisfaction during childbirth, fewer incidences of postpartum depression, and increased self-esteem. They realized better mother-infant interaction & improved postpartum care and more breastfeeding success.