A baby nurse? An infant specialist? A Doctor? What is a Doula??
The title Doula derives from the Greek meaning “a woman who serves”. The term is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
There are a few different types of Doula’s for different stages of pregnancy and childbirth as well as emotional needs.
A Birth Doula understands the process of childbirth as well as the emotional needs of a mother during labor. They stay with the mother throughout her birthing experience as well as help come up with a birth plan if necessary. Another huge role of the Birth Doula is protecting the mother’s memory of her labor and birth experience. According to DONA International, “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”.
A Postpartum Doula is a trained Doula that provides education, support and companionship during the fourth trimester (after the baby has been born). They assist with newborn care, adjustment of the family dynamic, meal preparation and household help. A Postpartum Doula plays a major role in providing a nonjudgemental environment for a mother and can aid in advice and support. They can offer referrals when necessary as well as evidence-based information on feeding, soothing, recovery and coping.
*Doulas do not replace a nursing staff and cannot perform medical tasks such as taking blood or performing medical exams.
In order to become a Doula, one must be certified by taking proper courses and working a specific number of hours. There are many different facilities that provide this certification.
DOULA vs. MIDWIFE
A Doula is NOT a Midwife. A Midwife has to go through a different course of training and is trained medical professional. They can administer some medications as well as perform various types of exams. A Doula’s main purpose is to simply be there for you and your partner before, during and after the birth of your baby.
We hope you have found this information helpful! Below are some links to informative websites as well as sites where you can learn how to obtain your Doula certifications 🙂