The concept of the doula has been around for a long time. For many centuries, other women have been providing assistance to expectant mothers during labor and delivery. As a practice, it has been appropriated in modern pregnancy and childbirth support methods. Today, the doula has become an important part of the continuum of care provided to the expectant mother.
What Is a Doula?
The term doula comes from a Greek word which means “servant woman.” In ancient times, the pregnancy support role was usually provided by a female family member or a close family friend. Today, the labor companion role is usually provided by professional doulas who are trained to deliver these types of support services. The doula is not a medical provider so they cannot recommend nor administer medication to the mother. While they do not provide medical services, they offer other forms of assistance to the expectant mother.
Doulas provide assistance throughout every step of the pregnancy process. A birth doula provides comfort and support during labor and delivery. They can provide company during medical consultations and provide emotional assurance during the birthing process. Another type of doula assists during the pre-delivery process. Those with a massage background can also provide therapeutic touch to the expectant mother. They can also provide support to antepartum clients or those with difficult pregnancies that require exceptional care.
There are organizations all over the world that provide doula training and certification. These organizations abide by the standards set for doula professionals in a particular state or jurisdiction. When looking for a labor companion, always hire a professional doula with years of experience. In the Utah area, search for any doula program services salt lake city ut for the right provider.
Other Benefits of Hiring a Doula
There are a lot of benefits to hiring a doula. As a companion, they offer physical, mental, and emotional support to their client. Some doulas extend their services to provide post-partum assistance to the mother. They help with daily household chores, from cleaning, cooking, to taking care of the baby. A doula can also provide emotional support to other family members, not just the expectant mother. While the doula does not provide direct medical assistance, they can act as a patient advocate. They can provide information on the procedures and communicate the concerns of their clients to the doctor and other medical professionals.
Studies related to doula care indicate other benefits to the expectant mother. Some studies show a connection between doula care and a decreased number of c-section procedures. Some studies also reported that expectant mothers with a doula require less pain-relief medication during the birthing process. Expectant mothers with a doula by their side are also more likely to report a positive birthing experience.
The pregnancy and delivery process does not have to be stressful for the mother and her family. With a doula or labor companion, the expectant mother can have the support that they need throughout the process. The doula can also provide additional postpartum support to mothers after the delivery.