Doulas and Childbirth

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What is a doula?

The word "doula" is Greek in origin, and has come to mean "woman helping woman" in childbirth. A doula is a non-medical labor support assistant. She provides a birthing woman with physical, emotional and informational support at childbirth, whether the birth takes place in a hospital, home, or childbirth center. Her primary concern is the mother, although she may also support other members of the family who are present. Doctors, nurses and midwives usually are not in a position to provide this continual support. As medical professionals who may be caring for more than one patient at a time, they cannot stay in the room with the mother. They also need to concentrate on the more clinical aspects of childbirth.

A doula's presence does not make a birth partner's presence unnecessary. To the contrary, a doula's presence frees the partner from certain aspects of concern and allows the partner to interact more closely with the birthing woman. A doula's purpose is to aid the mother in labor and help her have the birth experience she wants, thereby leaving her with a sense of empowerment and a beautiful, positive birth memory.

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* DISCLAIMER: Although professional doulas must learn and understand medical aspects of laboring and birthing in order to be effective labor support persons, I am NOT a medically or clinically certified caregiver. Therefore information on this website is NOT to be taken as medical advice, only as suggestions for your consideration. Should you have questions of a medical nature, please seek further information and discuss these questions with your perinatal care provider.

Information on this website is also not a substitute for childbirth class series. I personally recommend childbirth classes to all birthing women and their partners, even when planning to have labor support. Learning what happens physiologically during pregnancy and birth minimizes fear and promotes a more satisfying birth experience.

I have full confidence in everything included on this website, but I hope the readers understand the practical need for this disclaimer. Thank you.

©Karen N. Kilson