The original word doula comes from Ancient Greek d???? (doule), and refers to a woman of service/care-giver. Labour/Birth partner doulas are labour support companions who provide practical and emotional support for before, during and after your baby is born. They do not perform clinical tasks such as heart rate checks or vaginal exams, nor do they provide advice. Rather, they use massage, positioning suggestions and breathing techniques alongside many other methods to help make your birth expereience as calm and smooth as possible. A Doula/Birth Partner joins a mother who has started labour either at her home, birth centre, or hospital and remains with her throughout the entire labour and birth process and will encourage immediate skin-to-skin contact between baby and parents. The Doula will help, assist and guide with feeding and bonding.
As well as the birth itself, Doulas will often organize a prenatal visit, phone support, and a postpartum meeting to ensure the mother is well informed and supported. The terms of a Doula/Birth Partner’s responsibilities are decided between the doula and the family. In addition to emotional, physical and informational support, doulas work as advocates of their client’s wishes and will assist in communicating with medical staff to obtain information for the client to make informed decisions regarding medical procedures.