A childbirth assistant or doula supports women and their families in achieving the birth that they desire. A doula understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor, and assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth. Prenatally, during labor, and during the postpartum period, a doula provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make good decisions.
Research has shown that with doulas, mothers have greater satisfaction with their birth experience and more positive assessments of their babies. They also have more success breastfeeding and less postpartum depression.
Benefits of Doula Care
Doula care’s proven effects on the baby include: shorter hospital stays with fewer admissions to special care nurseries; babies breastfeed more easily; and mothers are more affectionate to their babies postpartum.
Studies have also shown that having a doula decreases interventions in birth. Doula care decreases:
- Epidural use by 60%
- Cesarean birth by 50%
- Pitocin (oxytocin) use by 40%
- Narcotics use by 30%
- Forceps use by 30%
- Length of labor by 25%
Learn More about Doulas:
- Labor Support page at Childbirth Connection, including Tips & Tools and Resources, including for families providing labor support.
- Mothers & Families from Doulas of North America (DONA)
- Professional Labor Support and Healthy Birth Practice #3 from Lamaze
- How to Choose a Doula from International Childbirth Education Association
- Doula Network of the Capital Region
- Volunteer Doula Programs
- Member Search from Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)
- Find a Doula from Doulas of North America (DONA)
- Member Directory from International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
- Find a Doula from BirthWorks International
- Ancient Song Doula Services (ASDS)
- Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)
- Commonsense Childbirth Institute (JJ Way)
- Doula Trainings International (DTI)
- Doulas of North America (DONA)
- International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
- Shafia Monroe Consulting Full Circle Doula Birth Companion
- Radical Doula