Wednesday, October 27, 2010

doula defined

This is an excerpt from my DONA Birth Doula Workshop manual.  I think it is the best, most simple definition I've found:
"The Greek word 'doula' means 'woman caregiver'.  We now use the word to describe a trained and experienced labor companion who provides the woman and her husband or partner continuous emotional support, physical comfort and assistance in obtaining information before, during and just after childbirth.
A postpartum doula provides care to a family with a newborn baby. 
A birth doula:
  • Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life.
  • Understands the phusiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woan and her partner in preparing for and carrying out the plans for the birth.
  • Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor.
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions.
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and clinical care providers.
  • Perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman's memory of her birth experience.
The acceptance of doulas in maternity care is growing rapidly with the recognition of their important contribution to the improved physical outcomes and emotional well being of mothers and infants."

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