What is a Doula?

The word doula comes from Modern Greek, meaning servant-woman.  Sources claim that the term referred to the most important slave in the ancient Greek household, who probably helped the lady of the house through childbirth.  Today it has come to mean a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.  In other words, she ‘mothers the mother’.

The doula is not medically trained, she doesn’t give advice, she doesn’t judge and she doesn’t replace the role of your partner.  She is a woman who offers emotional, physical and practical support;  provides information and helps the mother become informed about her various birth choices;  protects the birth environment; provides continuity of care and a familiar face;  supports your birth partner, reassuring them and giving them the confidence and ability to focus on you.

Although a doula, in the modern sense of the word, has only been around since the 70’s and 80’s it is not a modern practise – women supporting women during labour and early motherhood is well documented throughout history.  Research has shown that a doula really does make a difference.  Women who have a doula with them during birth and the postnatal period are:

  • More likely to have a spontaneous vaginal delivery
  • More likely to have a shorter labour
  • More likely to be successful with breast feeding
  • Less likely to give birth by Caesarean Section
  • Less likely to have an instrumental delivery i.e. forceps or ventouse
  • Less likely to need any analgesia or anaesthesia including epidurals
  • Less likely to be dissatisfied with or negatively rate your birth experience
  • Less likely to develop Postnatal Depression

MamaSerene offers a complete Doula service covering North West London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex and Watford.  Please click here to see the birth package.

If a Doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it”