The doula is a qualified and experienced professional who provides continuous support to the future mother on the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional level before, throughout childbirth and thereafter.
What is the meaning of the word “doula”? The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek and means “a woman who helps / serves another woman”.
Throughout the history of mankind, women who gave birth were surrounded by familiar female figures – a mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, neighbor, and other women of the tribe. Pregnant women often had attended the birth of their family members before their own childbirth. As a result, the delivery was more familiar to them.
Today, most pregnant women enter a delivery room for the first time in their lives on the day of their own delivery and they feel they are in a very alienated place without the support of familiar female figures. In addition, the medical staff switches every 8 hours and the midwife who is assigned to the pregnant mother handles several deliveries in parallel.
The doula provides continuous and personal support during pregnancy and throughout childbirth. During the birth, the doula – who was chosen by the care of the future mother and her husband, whom she met a few times before the day of delivery and with whom she spoke several times on the phone before the birth, is at her side throughout the whole birth of the baby.
Why is it recommended to use the services of a doula?
Much research done in the USA (where the concept of doulas is much more established than in Europe) shows that when a doula accompanies a future mother during childbirth:
- The delivery is shorter and there are fewer complications;
- The risk of vacuum delivery or forceps delivery is lower;
- Painkillers are less often used – in particular, there is less recourse to the epidural by 60%;
- There is less episiotomy, which makes it possible to recover from childbirth more quickly;
- There is less delivery by caesarean sections;
- There is less inducement of births;
- The mothers’ experience of the birth is better;
- A greater percentage of mothers breastfeed their babies.