The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
A Doula Can.......
Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
Stays with the woman throughout the labor
Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth….

**Tends to result in shorter labors

**Reduces negative feelings about the childbirth experience

**Reduces the mother’s request for pain medication

**Reduces the need for Pitocin, forceps or vacuum extractions and C-Sections

Research shows parents who receive support:

**Feel more secure and cared for

**Have greater success with breastfeeding

**Have greater self-confidence

**Have less postpartum depression

**From DONA International Website**