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What is a doula

The word “doula” originates from ancient Greek and is now used to refer to a woman who helps other women before, during, and after childbirth.

The aim of a doula is to provide woman-to-woman support for the birthing mother. Her ultimate goal is a positive transition for the new family, whether it is a woman’s first child or one of many. She is trained to provide continuous physical and emotional support to the mother during labour, birth and the postpartum period. She facilitates communication between the woman, her partner, and her clinical care providers. She is a resource person who provides objective information from varied sources, allowing the couple to identify their options, to make informed choices, and to demystify the hospital birthing process.

A doula is not a midwife. A doula is not trained to perform medical procedures, although they are familiar with them and can recognize a medical emergency and act appropriately. Doulas do not provide medical advice, although they are trained to recognize a situation that requires medical assistance. They are legally required to call emergency services if a baby is being born at home.

A doula does not perform internal exams, take blood pressure, record fetal heart beats, or prescribe drugs. A doula always works in partnership with the medical care team to provide women the optimum care during the childbearing year.

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