A birth doula refers to someone who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.
A 2013 Cochrane review of over 15000 found that continuous support in labour:
- Increased the likelihood of vaginal delivery
- Reduced C/S rate
- Reduced epidural use
- Improved APGAR scores
- Improved maternal satisfaction
It was also noted that “continuous support was most effective when the provider was neither part of the hospital staff nor the woman’s social network” . You can view the study here.
- Recognize birth as an experience the mother will remember all her life
- Understand the emotional needs of a woman in labour
- Assist the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
- Stay with the woman throughout the labour
- Provide emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint
- Help women get the information they need to make informed decisions
- Facilitate communication between the labouring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
- Promote the woman’s partner to participate at their comfort level