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Pregnancy is an amazing time of a woman's life when she becomes part of the miracle of birth. As doulas we are fortunate to get the chance to pamper pregnant women during labor and help them achieve a birth experience that they will remember forever. We also are fortunate enough to help them transition into a new family as we listen and gently offer our caring services.

The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

A Birth Doula
  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

A Postpartum Doula
  • Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
  • Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
  • Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary
Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.

What To Look For in a Doula:
When deciding which doula to hire, experience and training often come second to which doula feels right. Listening to your gut is important when choosing a doula.

Also consider what you're looking for in a doula. Everyone wants something a little different. Some people want a doula who will be an advocate for them. Others want a doula who will be physically supportive. Some just want someone there to provide a calm and centered atmostphere.

Latest page update: made by anchoragedoula , Jun 8 2009, 9:51 AM EDT (about this update About This Update anchoragedoula Edited by anchoragedoula

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