What is a doula?

What is a doula?

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The word doula is derived from the ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves,” and is now widely used to refer to an experienced professional who provides physical, emotional, informational, and even spiritual support to the mother (and her family) before, during, and after birth.  Increasingly, studies are revealing the value of doulas, including shortened labors with less complications, enabling a more personalized birth experience, and making transitions to breastfeeding easier. The research is compelling– the support of a doula has been shown to lead to a:

  • 50% reduction in cesarean rate
  • 25% shorter labor
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests
  • 40% reduction in oxytocin use
  • 30% reduction in analgesia use
  • 40% reduction in forceps delivery

(statistics from Mothering the Mother)

See DONA International for more information about doulas, what the latest research is showing, and other helpful resources about pregnancy and birth.

Written by Vanessa Garey

I lead the Expecting Joy Company, a pregnancy and parenting services company in Seattle, and we're passionate about serving, coaching, and celebrating (growing!) families. #WeHelpPeopleOut! More info @ www.expectingjoy.com/about-us.