A doula is the name given to a woman, who is a mother, who has been trained to provide emotional and practical support during pregnancy, labour and afterwards. Her role is empathic, considerate and reassuring. By using her skills, alongside her knowledge she can help make birth a more special experience for the whole family whether at hospital or home.
Her supportive presence inspires confidence in the woman’s ability to give birth and helps reduce fear of the unknown. She is always positive. Her commitment is total.
It is meeting a woman’s deepest emotional needs that a Doula can so dramatically affect labour. What women need is someone who understands them, someone who ‘speaks their language’ at the most intimate time of their lives. Someone whom they can trust.
A doula does not replace the Father but frees him from feeling totally responsible for his partners well being. She allows him the freedom to participate as and when he feels able. She respects their relationship and is sensitive to both their needs.
A succession of reports in major medical journals have shown that the presence of a Doula:
- shortens labour by several hours
- halves the need for caesarean and forceps deliveries
- reduces the need for use of painkillers and epidurals
The benefits go on…
Women who have had doulas present at their births:
- are less likely to have post natal depression
- show higher self esteem about their labour
- are more confident of their ability to birth their baby and care for it