What is a Doula?

In short, a doula is a professional support person who serves expectant women and new families. There are two types of doulas – a birth doula and a postpartum doula.

A birth doula provides mental, physical, and knowledgeable support for a mama and her partner prenatally and while in labor. Birth doulas often have an arsenal of knowledge and experience at their fingertips and can help the parents with a birth plan before the day of birth, provide support during labor (for both mom AND dad!), and in general can help you navigate one of the most empowering experiences of your life. They meet multiple times before birth, are on call for your labor, and follow up a few times after your baby has arrived.

It’s been shown that a birth doula helps reduce the risk of cesarean sections, unnecessary medical intervention, and in turn, postpartum depression and anxiety. Many women claim to have a more satisfying birth experience after using a doula.

A postpartum doula helps the mother and father transition into parenthood. They provide postnatal support with newborn care, laundry, errands, breastfeeding support, meals and even overnight care. They are often very knowledgeable when it comes to newborn soothing techniques, breastfeeding, and even massage. Postpartum doulas often greatly reduce the risk of postpartum depression and anxiety – calm, happy parents often result in a calm, happy baby.

Elisa is currently practicing as a birth doula.

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“Mother the Mother.”

Doulas are close by to provide support, encouragement, and education to the family during pregnancy, labor, and the newborn period. They provide physical and emotional support for the parents during their time of greatest need. They do not take the place of a spouse or significant other – instead they support the family as a whole.

Clinical studies have show that having a doula during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum:

  • Results in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • Reduces negatives feelings surround the childbirth experience
  • Reduces the need for Pitocin, epidurals, and instrumental delivery
  • Helps mothers have greater success with breastfeeding
  • Have less postpartum depression and lower incidence of abuse
  • From DONA, and Evidence Based Birth.