A birth doula is a professionally trained birth partner who provides non-medical support during labor and early postpartum. Non-medical support consists of emotional and physical aid for both the birthing client and their partner/family.
A doula’s role is much greater than holding your hand. When engaged early, doulas can provide resources for developing a birth plan, questions for your care provider, and resources for birth centers/hospitals that align with your values. Doulas can answer questions about the progression of labor, and provide guidance around different positions that may help to relieve pain and provide relief. Doulas are also present during labor to provide hands-on support, and immediate post-labor latching aid.
A Cochrane Review of almost 16,000 women found continuous labor support increased the likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth, shorter births, lower reports of negative childbirth experiences, lower likelihood of intrapartum analgesia (i.e. Epidural), lower likelihood of Caesarean births and lower likelihood of a baby with a low five-minute Apgar score.
Partnering with a doula that has been trained as a Naturopathic Doctor creates a beautiful hybrid of foundational medical and obstetric training with the compassion and patience of a birth partner.
Bohren MA, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C, Fukuzawa RK, Cuthbert A. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub6.
Thurston LAF, Abrams D, Dreher A, Ostrowski SR, Wright JC. Improving birth and breastfeeding outcomes among low resource women in Alabama by including doulas in the interprofessional birth care team. Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice 2019, Volume 17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xjep.2019.100278.
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