A Doula is...
Doula is a Greek word meaning a woman who serves. In labour support terminology, a doula refers to a specially trained birth companion (not a friend or loved one) who provides labour support. She performs no clinical tasks.
Doula also refers to lay women who are trained or experienced in providing postpartum care (mother and newborn care, breastfeeding support and advice, cooking, child care, errands, and light cleaning) for the new family. To distinguish between the two types of doulas, the terms birth doulas and postpartum doulas are used.
The concept of a doula is an ancient idea of women supporting women during birth and the postnatal period.
A doula provides physical, emotional, and informational support to women and their partners during labour, birth and the postpartum period. They help and advise on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, massage, and positioning. Assistance to families in gathering information about the course of their labour and their options. Provide continuous emotional reassurance and comfort; non-medical skills such as massage and other non-pharmacological pain relief measures. Assistance to partners who want to play an active support role.
A doula helps a birthing woman have a safe and satisfying childbirth and postnatal period as she defines it.