What is a Birth Doula?

What Does a Doula Do?

A doula is trained to give continuous, one-to-one support to women in labor. She provides non-medical physical and emotional care to the birthing mother, and may also lend a hand with communications between the mother, her family, and the hospital staff.

A doulaís expertise is in offering comfort and reassurance. Her presence helps a laboring woman feel safe and confident throughout labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period.

Help with comfort measures such as relaxation, breathing, massage, and positioning, means that the motherís partner can play an active support role with more confidence, too.

Continuous Support

A doula stays with a birthing woman continuously, no matter how long it takes and regardless of what pain medications are used, the type of delivery, or whether or not complications develop.

While nurses, doctors, and midwives change shifts and must come and go to attend other patients, a doula remains by the side of a laboring woman and her family until her baby is born.

A doula does not provide clinical care or assessments. Nor does she replace the motherís partner, or other friends or family members she may choose to have present for the birth. In fact, the doula helps take care of them, too!

University of California, San Diego Medical Center

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