What is a Doula?

The word ‘doula’ (pronounced ‘doo-la’) is a Greek word meaning ‘woman servant or caregiver’. More recently, it refers to someone who offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth. In Ireland a Doula is a woman who provides a Doula service usually for a fee.

The principal is to give ‘mothering to the mother’, enabling a woman to have the most satisfying experience that she can from pregnancy and into motherhood. This type of support allows the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience too. A Doula will come to your home, and may accompany you on maternity visits; hospital birth or homebirth. She will also care for a new mother and other children for several hours during the day as pre-arranged, primarily meeting the needs of the mother. This service can be purely a postnatal service or may include antenatal, birth and postnatal support. Doula’s do not give medical advice or attention, but can support the parents make informed choices about their care, and recommend practical solutions to most maternity type scenarios.

Benefits of a Doula?

The up-to-date evidence shows that the best maternity experience occurred when woman had continuous labour support from a doula – someone who was NOT hospital staff and who was NOT part of the woman’s social network. When continuous labour support was provided by a doula women experienced a:

  • 31% decrease in the use of Oxytocin intravenous drip
  • 28% decrease in the risk of Caesarean birth
  • 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
  • 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
  • 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care unit
  • 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience

If you would like more information on training to be a Doula, join us for a Free Talk & Doula Training Open Day on Saturday, 6th April. Alternatively, email training@the-elbowroom.com

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