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What is a doula?
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What is a doula?

The word, "doula," comes from the Greek word for the most important female slave or servant in an ancient Greek household, the woman who probably helped the lady of the house through her childbearing. The word has come to refer to "a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth." (Mothering the Mother, Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus.)

As a doula, I provide you with continuous emotional and physical support during your labor.  A care provider or nurse may provide emotional and physical support, but it may not be continuous since their primary job is to attend to you medically, and they may also have other patients to attend to.  I do not perform medical tasks or give medical advice.  I am hired by the expectant family, and my responsibility is to you and you only.  My goal is to meet your needs during labor and to empower you to advocate for your wishes during your baby's birth. 

There are several ways that I will ensure that your needs are met:  by helping you access your care provider to ask questions, by reminding care providers of your wishes as they are expressed in your birth plan, and by giving you and your partner reminders of plans you made. I provide physical support by suggesting positions for labor, massaging you if you need or want it, and helping with any other physical comfort measures that you want to use.

I do not make decisions for you, but I can help you gather the information you need to make decisions.  I can help you write your birth plan.  I provide support before, during, and after the birth of your child. I discuss your wishes, fears, and plans in detail with you before the birth and can help you find resources, discuss the birth experience, and discuss your concerns once you are at home and caring for your new baby.

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