What is a doula?

 

A doula is a professional birth companion. Her role is to provide emotional and practical support to couples during labour, birth and immediately after the baby is born. The word doula is an ancient Greek word meaning 'woman helper or slave'.  Throughout history women have helped women prepare for labour and give birth.

A doula is also there in part to build women's confidence in their body's natural ability to give birth. For most of their lives women are bombarded with images of birth that present a medical event or even trauma of some kind.  Births in EastEnders or Casualty invariably show someone flat on their back, screaming and everyone around them in a mild state of panic.  But this isn't how birth is meant to be. 

Women who have confidence in their ability to give birth and understand how to influence their birthing hormones can have very different experiences, where their births are calm, gentle and even empowering and ecstatic. 

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