What is a Doula?

What is a doula? A doula is a unique part of the birthing team. She is traditionally hired by the birthing couple to serve the laboring woman and her partner. A doula is not a nurse nor a midwife, therefore, it is not her job to perform medical tasks or clinical evaluations. Continuity of care (due to the fact that doulas do not work in shifts) is also comforting to the birthing couple. The mother can rest assured that her physical and emotional needs will be met throughout her labor and birth. The doula is focused on one patient only.

Nurses are an important part of the birthing team. Some expectant couples think that the nurses can provide physical and emotional comfort, but nurses are usually responsible for more than one patient. It is unlikely that a nurse can stay by your side continuously during labor. Nurses are responsible for clinical evaluations, monitoring vital signs, record keeping and charting, reporting to the doctors, and more.

Some expectant couples may think that a trusted friend or family member can do the job of a certified doula. The birthing couple is encouraged to choose whoever they would like to be present at the birth of their baby, keeping in mind that having a friend or family member at the birth does not match the expertise in and knowledge of pre-natal care, the birthing process, and the post-partum recovery period, as well as breastfeeding knowledge, that most certified doulas have obtained through intense training, certification processes and experience.

Some expectant fathers/partners are concerned that hiring a certified doula undermines his/her job as the coach. The fact is that a certified doula assists the father/partner by making practical suggestions so he/she can better help the mother, by giving him/her breaks when necessary, and by enabling him/her to participate in ways in which he/she is most comfortable without compromising the needs of the laboring woman. Having a certified doula present allows the father/partner to concentrate all his energies on the mother; giving her the love, that only he can provide, and freeing him from worry. Hiring a certified doula allows the father to relax and fully participate at his own comfort level for the birth of his/her baby.

Beautiful Informed Beginnings LLC
Mary Jane Bennett CD (DONA) IBCLC LCCE ECE
Mother of Four
P.O. Box 1454
Kihei, HI 96753