What Is a Doula

“Doulas are trained and experienced in giving continuous emotional and physical help throughout labor. In times past, it was common knowledge that it was easier for woman to go through labor and give birth if they were provided with the continuous presence and kindly (non-medical) advice of female friends or relatives. Nowadays, more and more women are turning to doulas for help during labor. Physicians, midwives, and nurses are hard-pressed to give this kind of attention, since they are typically required to look after several different women on any given day and cannot be continuously present in one woman’s labor room. Evidence for the positive impact of the presence of a supportive relative, midwife, nurse, or doula at the side of a laboring woman is quite strong: Many studies have found that women with labor support had shorter labors and much less need for pain medication, intravenous oxytocin augmentation, forceps, vacuum extraction, and cesarean section than women who labored with out this care. Not surprisingly, the great chance you have of a shorter, less exhausting, undisturbed labor and birth, the greater will be your ability to enjoy the important time after birth when nature intends that you bond with and begin to breastfeed your baby. On average, having a doula with you during labor halves the time of labor as well as the likelihood of having a cesarean.”

 -Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin

Maggie's Background as a Doula: