Q: What is a doula?
A: From the Greek word meaning “a woman who serves”, a doula is a labor coach or labor assistant who will deliver emotional support from home to hospital, ease the transition into the hospital environment and be there throughout labor and birth.
Q: What does a doula do?
A: The doula serves as an advocate and information source to give the mother and her partner the added comfort of additional support throughout the entire labor providing everything from a back rub to holding your hand to keeping your partner from pacing a hole in the floor.
Typically, a CAPPA certified labor doula meets with the parents in the second or third trimester of the pregnancy to get acquainted and to learn about prior birth experiences and the history of this pregnancy. She may help you develop a birth plan, teach relaxation, visualization and breathing skills useful for labor. Most importantly, she will provide comfort, support and information about birth options.
A doula can help the woman to determine prelabor from true labor and early labor from active labor. At a point determined by the woman in labor, the doula will come to her and assist her by:
A doula works cooperatively with the health care team. In the event of a complication, a doula can be a great help in understanding what is happening and what options the family may have. The doula may also help with the initial breastfeeding and in preserving the privacy of the new family during the first hour after birth.