"a woman who serves"
A doula is a professionally trained birth companion who provides continuous emotional and physical support before, during and after delivery. A doula offers reassurance to the mother and family as labor progresses, and supports the mother in her own ways of coping, as well as providing additional comfort measures. Importantly, doulas help educate families of their options surrounding birth, empowering them with evidence-based information. When appropriate, a doula will remind or advocate for the mother's preferences with the medical provider. The doula never takes the place of the husband or birth companion, but supports this person as they care for the mother.
Numerous studies have shown that continuous labor support from a doula can: shorten labor, decrease the use of pain medications, reduce the risk of C-section, and increase the mother's satisfaction with the birth experience.