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What is a Birth Doula?

Doula is a Greek word meaning “woman who serves.”

A Doula accompanies a woman during labour, providing non-clinical physical, emotional and informational support.

A woman´s needs during childbirth are complex. Aside from modern obstetrical care, and the love and support provided by her partner, a woman needs consistent, continuous comfort, reassurance, encouragement and respect. Every woman is different and so care needs to be individualized based on each woman´s circumstances and personal needs.

Doulas specialize in non-medical skills, and do not perform clinical tasks, or diagnose medical conditions. A Doula provides continuous support, from early labor, through birth, until the family is resting comfortably. The Doula offers help and advice on comfort measures such as pain management, breathing, relaxation, movement, positioning, and massage. She also assists families to gather the information they need to create a satisfying birth experience as they define it.

Doulas work in collaboration with midwives, nurses, physicians and birth partners. Experienced Doulas are considered to be part of the obstetrical team. Doulas attend home births and hospital births; medicated births and non-medicated births. Doulas may be the only support person for the mother, or may be part of a labor support team. A Doula is not a nurse, but is a trained childbirth professional that understands the labour and birth process, and can offer consistent, personalized care and support.

 
 
 
  Numerous studies on Doula presence have shown:
 
 
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Reduction in the length of labour by 25%
 
 
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Reduction in pain medication use by 30%
 
 
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Reduction in epidural requests by 60%
 
 
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Reduction in the need for forceps by 40%
 
 
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Reduction in oxytocin use by 40%
 
 
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Reduction in cesarean section by 50%
 
 
 
 
*These statistics appear in “A Doula Makes the Difference” by Nugent in Mothering Magazine, March-April 1998.
 
 
 
 
*Study cited in “The Doula” by Klaus in Childbirth Instructor Magazine, Spring 1995. 
 
 
 
 
For more information:
 
  http://www.dona.org/publications/position_paper_birth.php  
 
 
 
What is a Postpartum Doula?

The postpartum doula is the extra pair of hands, quiet presence and shoulder to lean on in the days, weeks or even months after childbirth. Her primary role is to mother the mother by providing in-home essential, positive, not-judgmental support. By having a doula, mom, dad and siblings feel cared for while mom gets the much needed rest and recuperation she needs and deserves. A postpartum doula can reduce the chances for postpartum depression, help lower family stress, assist with sibling adjustment and provide mom with the confidence she needs and desires.

The doula's role also includes providing physical support, baby care including; calming techniques, bathing, feeding, burping, diapering, holding, breastfeeding skills and support, sibling care, pet care, light housework, some meal prep and even errands. A doula is a new mother's indispensable wealth of information and support during the postpartum time.

For more information on postpartum doula care for you and your family call Stacy Pavlov at Mother Me. 250-260-4120 or cell 250-306-0636 or email spavlov@telus.net.
 
 
 
 
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