“Every woman needs not only the father and other chosen partner but also a nurturing, experienced person – a doula – who can calmly and skillfully help her cope with labor and be a reassuring and constant presence for both her and the father.” Mothering the Mother – Klaus, Kennel, & Klaus
The Greek word doula means “a woman who serves” and is used to refer to a trained, experienced labor companion, one who is not a friend or loved one, who assists the woman and her partner before, during, and just after childbirth.
Doulas specialize in non-medical, non-clinical tasks. Their goal is to help the woman have a safe and satisfying birth experience.
The following are just some facets of a birth doula’s role:
• Providing comfort and reassurance
• Providing physical and emotional support
• Assisting the woman and her partner to carry out their birth plan
• Facilitating communication between a woman, her partner, and medical personnel
• Nurturing and safeguarding the woman’s remembrance of her birth experience
• Helping women discover their own strength
While it is true that a birth doula cannot make the same contributions that a partner who knows the woman intimately can make, when they work together as a team, they can truly benefit the mother. The doula is present to support both the mother and father. She is present in addition to, not instead of, the father. She is happy to give him the guidance and encouragement he needs so that he can play as active a role as he feels comfortable with in the birth of his child.