pregnancy - birthing doula
by Samantha Thurlby-Brooks
A birthing doula is a woman who will be with a labouring woman
throughout the birth of her baby. Working alongside, and not instead of, the
medical professionals, the birthing doula will be a valued member of the
experience offering physical and emotional support not only to the labouring
woman, but also to her medical carers. Relaxed and calm birthing assistants
means a relaxed and calm birthing woman and baby.
Many women require birthing doula's for different reasons; often it's because
they would rather not have the people they know seeing them in such a vulnerable
state. Or maybe her partner is unable to attend the birth, or doesn't feel
confident to be there alone. Women who are under the care of an Obstetrician,
rather than a midwife, will chose to have a Doula at the birth, as often the
midwife is unknown until the day.
Generally a doula will attend a birth if the birthing woman would like no one
else with her, as the fewer people attending the birth the better the birthing
The key function of the birthing doula is to be a
non-observing, non-intrusive, relaxed and positive figure, helping you to feel
safe and confident to give birth. Because of the intimate nature of this role,
it is important for you and your doula to meet at least twice before the birth
and to be in regular contact so as to build up a trusting relationship.
A birthing doula is not a qualified medical professional, and
will not be used as a replacement for your lead maternity carer.
A study in 1993 by Kennell, Klaus and Kennell discovered the benefits of
using a doula during labour:
50% reduction in cesareans
25% shorter labours
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in the use of synthetic oxytocin (to
induce labour or to make contractions more effective)
30% reduction in requests for pain relief
40% reduction in forceps deliveries
For useful pregnancy and birthing articles and tips,