Choosing a Birth Location and Care Provider
What is a doula?
A doula is a non-medical professional labor companion that provides informational, emotional, and physical labor support in addition to your nurse, doctor or midwife. Doulas attend births in hospitals, birthing centers, and homes. Doulas works alongside your partner and care providers to enhance your labor experience. Doulas do not perform clinical tasks such as physical exams or assessing fetal or maternal well-being (in a medical sense). Doulas do provide physical comfort measures, verbal encouragement, suggestions and information, and bring a sense of calm and confidence to both parents during the birth of their baby. Doulas also provide education in the prenatal period, during labor and birth, and during the post-partum period.
Doulas understand the natural process of birth and help parents understand this process and work with them during labor and birth to create the most positive, healthy, and positive experience possible for the family. While studies show improved outcomes and reduced interventions in the birth process, hiring a doula is not some kind of magical guarantee that you will have the type of birth you desire to have. As a consumer, you must do your part to choose a care provider (doctor or midwife) and birthplace (home, birth center, or hospital) conducive to the type of birth you are planning.