What is a doula?
A doula (pronounced doola) is a professional birth companion. She helps you and your partner prepare for birth and stays with you throughout labour. She is a woman who has usually given birth many times herself and, through her personal experience and study of pregnancy and birth, is able to help the labouring mother achieve a more calm and positive birthing experience.
A doula is not medically trained and is not a midwife, but works with the parents and alongside the medical staff to provide additional emotional and practical support for the labouring woman and her partner.
A doula is trained in non-medical pain relief methods such as breathing patterns, body positioning, relaxation techniques, massage and visualisation.
Labouring with a doula can lead to a better labour for example, by reducing the length of labour, the level of pain reported and the number of caesareans required.
What does the word 'Doula' mean?
The word is an ancient Greek word meaning 'woman helper'. Throughout history women have helped women prepare for labour and give birth. Doulas provide emotional and practical support through pregnancy and birth to help you achieve the best delivery for yourself and your baby.