I am so glad you are curious about doulas
A birth doula is a companion who provides people with continuous support during labor and childbirth¹.
¹ Source: Evidence Based Birth®
What a doula provides
In today's world, birth doulas fill in the gap between the medical providers, the huge amount of available information and the needs of the parents.
A birth doula has vast knowledge about many aspects of childbirth.
Continuity of support
A doula comes to you and stays by your side throughout all the hours of your labor, for as long as it takes.
Physical comfort measures
A doula can offer a wide arrange of techniques to increase your comfort and relaxation during labor.
Familiarity with the medical setting
A doula is culturally acquainted with medical environment, providers and protocols in the region you are giving birth.
A doula cares about you and your emotional well-being. We listen, are attentive and responsive to you.
A doula thrives to keep communication channels open and clear between everyone in the birthroom.
Timeline of a relationship
How does it (usually) work
The first time you get in touch with a doula you can have a free-of-charge chat to see if you are compatible. It pays off to find a doula that gives you a good gut feeling, makes you feel at ease and matches your personality and the kind of support you are seeking.
Once you both agree to work together, you will have a few prenatal appointments with your doula and your partner. The goal is to get to know your history, your personality and preferences, what works for you and explore what would be the best way to support you in the birth room.
Your doula gets on call
When you reach your 37th or 38th week, all final pay of service shall have concluded and your doula will be on call, ready to go to your side to support you during labor. Your doula is committed to reach you within one hour since your notification.
Continuous support during childbirth
Once by your side, your doula remains with you until you have given birth to your child. Hour by hour, contraction by contraction, your doula stays attentive and responsive to you and your partner's needs.
After you have accomplished the epic task of bringing your child earth-side, your doula will visit you. You will have the opportunity to debrief the birth and make a recount of events.
It is the closing instance of your relationship as doula and client.
It's about building rapport
According to Google Translate, rapport is "a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well". This is what your doula will try to develop with you during your relationship.
Some synonyms are: bond; affinity; close/special relationship; (mutual) understanding; empathy; harmony.
I could go own forever talking about doulas
In the following sections you will find the measured benefits of having continuous support during labor and a simple list to understand the scope of work of a birth doula.
And then I'm done, I promise!
The doula effect
Source: Evidence Based Birth®
Increase in the likelihood of experiencing spontaneous vaginal birth
Average reduction of labor length
This effect takes place when receiving continuous support during labor.
Decrease in the risk of having an abdominal birth (a.k.a. cesarean)
Decrease in the risk of being unsatisfied with the birth experience
This effect takes place when receiving continuous support during labor from a doula or someone in your social network.
This falls out of the scope of work of a birth doula:
Performing medical interventions
Providing medical advice or diagnosis
Speaking on your behalf
Making decisions on your behalf
Taking over the role of your birth partner