What is
a doula?

Doula, (pronounced Doo-la) comes from a Greek word that means “a woman who serves” and is often referred to as “mothering the mother.”

Like all professions, doulas come from all walks of life with varying spiritual and ideological outlooks and beliefs. They are as varied as any community group, which is why there is a doula to suit everyone and they support women and families in all kinds of situations, who have different kinds of births and make a wide range of parenting choices.

“…there is a doula to suit everyone…”

The services offered by a doula vary greatly according to the needs of the women, couple or family that she is working with. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Birth plans, parenting choices and situations vary greatly, but can all be supported.

Doulas do not perform clinical tasks. They do not give medical advice or diagnose conditions. A doula is there to complement the birthing team of midwives, doctors, consultants, etc.

They do not advise, but can support a woman to find balanced information to make informed decisions about her maternity care.

Doulas do not replace the partner, we are also there to guide them in being confident support for you too. A doula has intimate knowledge of birth, while your partner has intimate knowledge of you. Together, we can be the ultimate birthing team!

While doulas are not there to change outcomes, there is growing evidence that having a birth or postnatal doula brings a number of tangible benefits. While this research is important, it’s the less tangible benefits of having a non-judgemental companion during a life-altering event that most women remember and value.

Research has shown having
a doula present at birth:

Shortens first-time labour by an average of 2 hours

Decreases the chance of a caesarean section by 50%

Decreases the need for pain medication

Helps fathers participate with confidence

Increases success in breastfeeding

Decreases risk of PND

Source: “Mothering the Mother”, Klaus, Kennell & Klaus 1993.