The word Doula is a Greek word meaning "woman servant" or "caregiver". Women have been serving women in childbirth for many centuries, long before it was a formalised role, and have proven that support from another woman has a positive impact on the labour process.

Women have complex needs during childbirth. In addition to the safety of modern obstetrical care, and the love and companionship provided by their partners or family, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. They need individualised care based on their circumstances and preferences. The role of the birth doula encompasses the non-clinical aspects of care during childbirth.
— bellybelly.com.au

A doula can specialise in birth or the postnatal period, and some overlap between the two. I'm one of them! I will generally work with a woman or family from pregnancy, through labour and see them postnatally. This enables me to give continuous care throughout their time transitioning from woman to mother, two to three or even three to five! My role isn't to advise but I am here to listen, to inform, to advocate, to support & to empower.  Women who have a Doula present at their birth, have been recorded to have a shortened first time labour, by up to 2 hours & a decreased chance of a caesarian section birth by 50%. As well as emotional support, doula's are on hand for some practical support too. Making sure mum stays hydrated, making sure her birthing partner has slept or eaten, and at home perhaps some light housework or holding baby whilst you catch up on some sleep, meals, a shower or all three. 

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