A doula is a non-medical assistant for a woman before, during, and after the childbirth. Doulas can provide informative, physical and emotional support to a birthing woman, her partner and family. You can think of a doula as your advisor or a counselor in childbirth.
What does a doula do?
A doula will help you:
- Learn as much as you can about childbirth and newborn care.
- Choose among different options when it comes to childbirth and epidural.
- Show you how to tell if your contractions are real.
- Birth doula guides you through the labor and assist with breathing and changing positions. She will also:
- Provide emotional support and help you feel safe.
- Help you stay calm in situations that draw anxiety or fear.
- A postpartum doula helps you recover from the labor and care for the newborn.
- She will also assist with housework and other children in the home.
- Postpartum doula will also pay attention to your postpartum health, healing, and nursing/breast issues. She is one of the first people to contact if you're uncertain about getting medical help for yourself or the baby.
- Help you cope with baby blues and postpartum anxiety.
Doula training and certification
Doulas are typically certified with some courses. However, there is no law requiring doulas to be certified but undergoing special training and being certified is beneficial for professional doulas.
What you need to know is, although having a doula by your side is calming and pleasant, she can't provide you with maximum assistance as the midwife can. Doulas don't have any official medical training, and their role is strictly advisory.
Your doula won't be able to order any medication or advise medical staff on any aspects of the labor. She serves as your advocate and she is there to make you feel better and assure that your opinions are being heard.