Why Use a Doula

Women have complex needs during childbirth and the weeks that follow. In addition to medical care and the love and companionship provided by their partners, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. They need individualized care based on their circumstances and preferences.

A doula is prepared to provide physical (non-medical), emotional and informational support to women and their partners during labor and birth, as well as to families in the weeks following childbirth. We offer a loving touch, positioning and comfort measures that make childbearing women and families feel nurtured and cared for.

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals

Research shows parents who receive support can:

  • Feel more secure and cared for
  • Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
  • Have greater success with breastfeeding
  • Have greater self-confidence
  • Have less postpartum depression
  • Have lower incidence of abuse
A recent survey indicated that mothers gave the doulas the "highest rating" for the best supportive care over any other member of the birth team including nurses, doctors and nurse-midwives.

Other Reasons Parents Hire a Doula

A desire for additional support during labor, with or without a primary labor partner.
A history of a previous long or challenging birth.
Greater access to non-pharmacologic methods of pain relief.
Mothers with special needs such as those planning a VBAC, single mothers or those who cannot use pain medications such as an epidural.
For additional help with breastfeeding techniques and postpartum support after birth.
To assist parents in having a natural or unmedicated childbirth.

How Doula Support is Unique

A common misconception is that the labor and delivery nurse with be providing the same type of support as the doula. Parents believe that the nurse will be there with them continuously and help them with pain relief techniques. The reality is that the typical labor and delivery nurse in the hospital has multiple patients. She is required to keep extensive records on all of her patients at the same time. In fact, one study showed that only about 10% of the nurse's time was spent supporting the laboring woman with her physical or emotional needs.

Doulas do not work in shifts or have multiple patients. They care for the individual needs of the mother and stay with her until the baby is born. Not only that, but the birth doula is not a stranger to the mother and therefore she can act as a familiar guide through the long and often challenging hours of labor.