What is a doula?
The word doula comes from the Greek word for the most important female slave or servant in an Ancient Greek household, the woman who probably helped the lady of the house through her childbearing. The word has come to refer to "a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after childbirth." (Klaus, Kennel and Klaus, Mothering the Mother)
|• Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life
• Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
• Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth
• Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor
• Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the
woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions
• Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partners and her birth attendants,
• Perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman's memory of her birth experience.
The acceptance of doulas in maternity care is growing rapidly with the recognition of their important contribution to the well-being of mothers and infants.
~Doulas of North America (DONA)