Birth doulas (also called childbirth assistants, labor support professionals, birth assistants, or birth companions) provide emotional, physical and informational support during pregnancy, labor, birth and immediate postpartum.
A doula does not replace the partner. Instead she helps support the partner so that he or she can love and encourage the laboring woman.
Doulas provide support in the hospital, at home or at a birthing center -- wherever women give birth.
A doula provides continuous, uninterrupted support throughout labor and delivery. She offers massage, suggestions for position changes, relaxation techniques, reminders to stay hydrated and keep her bladder empty. She also believes in a woman's ability to birth her baby.
Throughout the ages, women have looked to other women for support while giving birth. This is a primal need and does not reflect on her relationship with her partner in any way.
Why Do I Need a Doula?
Even if you have a wonderful, caring partner, doctor or midwife, will he or she:
Provide hypnosis techniques?
Provide prenatal visits in your home?
Suggest positions to ease back labor and help with pushing?
Do the double hip squeeze or provide counter pressure?
Bring his or her birth ball to make your labor easier?
Come to your home and labor with you until it's time to go to the hospital or birthing center and then stay with you until the baby is born?
Stay by your head providing encouragment while you are in transition and when the baby is being born?
Offer you cold/hot packs?
Mop your brow with a cool cloth?
Take notes during labor and provide you with a written record of the birth?
Take photographs of you and your partner with your new baby?
Help you with breastfeeding?
If the answer to any of these questions is "NO" -- you need (and deserve) a doula!