Modern Greek: servant woman
Ancient Greek: female slave
In today’s society, a doula is there to ensure a laboring woman feels safe and comfortable, and to be well informed during her labor. She is not someone performing medical procedures or used to replace the OB or midwife in their role, but instead enhances the care they provide, by helping communicate with the family what is going on, and helping the laboring mother to make informed choices on what decisions are being made, as well as communicating with the medical team the expressed wishes of the mother and family. She is also there to support the partner. They too are going through a huge change in their lives, and that can be scary! The laboring mother looks to her partner for support and reassurance, and the doula can assist the partner in finding the right way to physically support her through contractions, and help reassure the partner that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed, and that they’re doing things right.
Having a doula attend the birth reduces the chances the laboring woman will have unnecessary interventions, and raises the satisfaction she feels about her birth. There has been a significant increase in satisfaction between partners, between mom and baby, and between patient and medical staff when a doula is present. It increases the chances of successful breastfeeding, and results in a longer time moms breastfeed their babies.