A doula guides, cares and nurtures parents before, during and after childbirth. Depending on the support they offer, they are referred as Birth Doula or Postpartum Doula.
When I tell people I am a doula, I commonly get asked what a doula is exactly- and I usually need to repeat it one more time ( a Doo-what?!) Either because people have never heard of what a doula is, or because they don't really understand the role of a doula during the birth process and during postpartum.
The word “doula” originates from a Greek word meaning “woman’s servant”. A doula is a non-medical trained companion who offers practical, emotional and physical support to expecting and/or new parents. Their purpose is to ensure parents are heard, prepared and supported, without judgment and regardless of their choices. Doulas build a close relationship with the couples to support their individual preferences.
A Birth Doula's main role is to help pregnant women feel confident about their ability to give birth, by providing guidance, evidence-based information and reassurance. As a birth companion, a doula will be present continuously during labor and childbirth and will help you achieve the kind of birth you want. They have the ability to provide comfort through massages, movements, breathing exercises, positions and so forth. Having a doula by your side ensures you have a more positive and empowering birth experience.
A doula will support the birthing person, as much as the birth's partner. The birth of a baby is an extremely emotional time for the two parents, and at no point a doula is there to replace the partner during this time. She will be part of the birthing team and will hold space for you.
A Postpartum Doula provides support the weeks following the birth of the baby and will help parents to have a smooth transition into parenthood. Their role is to ease your journey by being an extra pair of hands, so you can rest, ask all the information you need and gain confidence, whether it is your first baby or your fifth !
A doula is a passionate and compassionate person, dedicated to giving you and your family the care and attention you need during this exciting and transformational journey.