"Whenever and however you intend to give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body and your spirit for the rest of your life." Ina May Gaskin
A Birth Doula
- Recognizes birth as a key experience the birthing person will remember all their life
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a person in labour
- Assists the birthing person in preparing for and carrying out their plans for birth
- Stays with the birthing person throughout the labour
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the birthing person get the information they need to make informed decisions
- Facilitates communication between the labouring person, their partner and their clinical care providers
- Perceives the doula role as nurturing and protecting the birthing person’s memory of the birth experience
- Allows the birthing person’s partner to participate at his/her comfort level
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labours are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
A Postpartum Doula
- Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
- Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
- Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary
Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.