Many people I meet often ask me 'So what is a doula and what does a doula do!' I try to keep it to a few sentences and I often say that a doula supports pregnant couples during labour and postpartum. However there is so much more to what doulas do.
DOULAS IN HISTORY
Throughout history, women have always been depicted as supporting birthing women. It is interesting to note the birthing process moving to a hospital setting and being watched over by (commonly male) doctors, is a fairly recent trend in history (in the last century).
WHY USE A DOULA
If you have read my story, you would know that one of the organisations I have trained with is DONA International. According to DONA: 'Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth:
- tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
- reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
- reduces the need for pitocin (a labour-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction
- reduces the requests for pain medication and epidurals, as well as the incidence of cesareans'
So you can see why there is a growing trend towards using a doula for labour support.
DOULA: THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT
DONA International have made this short video about Doulas called 'Doula: The Essential Ingredient' which talks about the origin and rationale of doula support: