A Doula is a professional care provider who understands and respects the process of birth as well as its physical and emotional aspects.
Birth Doulas provide emotional support, physical support, education, collaboration, and professionalism to the birthing mother and her family. Birth Doulas may provide support to a woman in childbirth at home when a primary care provider is present or up until the time to leave for the birth site (hospital or birth center). The Birth Doula is not the primary care provider nor should she misrepresent herself as one.
Birth Doulas usually offer a minimum of one prenatal and postpartum visit, in addition to being present at the client’s birth. Many Birth Doulas choose to offer additional services as postpartum doulas; lactation consultants, massage therapists, and other specialties which do not conflict with their ability to provide labor support.
Many doulas are trained to provide:
- Emotional Support
- Physical Support
- Educational Support
- Advocacy and collaboration
What a Doula is NOT:
- A doula does NOT perform clinical tasks, such as taking blood pressure, fetal heart checks or vaginal exams. A doula provides physical comfort and emotional support and facilitates communication between you and the staff.
- A doula does NOT make decisions for you. A doula will help you get the information you need to make an educated decision. They may gently identify any departures from your birth plan.
- A doula does NOT speak to the staff on your behalf. A doula will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but will encourage you to voice your opinions, questions and concerns to the staff.