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Doula Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a Doula?
A doula is a person trained and experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and after childbirth.

What does the word "doula" mean?
The word "doula" comes from acnient Greek, meaning "Woman's servant." Throughout history and in much of the world today, women support a woman through labor and birth. 

What effects does the presence of a doula have on birth outcomes?
Studies show that doula's have the following effects on birth
1. Tend to result in shorter labors with fewer medical interventions
2. reduces negative feelings about one's childbirth experience
3. reduces the need for induction
4. reduces the requests for pain medications

What effect does the presence of a doula have on the mother?
Women report greater satisfaction with their birth experience when a doula is present. They make more positive assessments of their babies, have fewer cesareans and request for medical intervention  and have less postpartum depression.

What effects do the presence of doulas have on babies?
Studies have shown that babies born with doulas present tend to have shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to the special care nurseries, breastfeed more easily and have more affectionate mothers in the postpartum period.

Where do doulas work?
Doulas can be present in a hospital, birth center or home birth.

Does a doula replace medical staff?
No. Doulas do not replace any medical staff. Doulas do not perform clinical or medical tasks such as taking blood pressure or temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, doing vaginal examinations or providing postpartum clinical care.  They are there to comfort and support the mother and to enhance communications between the mother and medical professionals.

Does a doula make decisions on my behalf?
No.  A doula does not make decisions for clients or interven in their clinical care. She provides informational and emotional support, while respecting a woman's decision.

Will a doula make my partner feel unnecessary?
No, a doula is supportive to both the mother and her partner, and plays a crucial role in helping a partner become involved in the birth to the extent he/she feels comfortable.

Information thanks to DONA International