WHAT IS A DOULA?
Doula is a Greek word for “a woman who serves”.
A doula is a person who provides emotional and physical support to you during your pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period.
Doulas are not medical professionals. They do not deliver babies or provide any medical care.
A doula has been trained in the biological process of labour and childbirth. She uses her knowledge to support, comfort, encourage and inform an expectant couple throughout the birth process. If you use a doula, you’ll likely build a relationship with her over your pregnancy, so that when your due date arrives, she’ll know how best to help you. What’s more, research shows that with a doula’s help, you’re less likely to need birth interventions, pain relief, or a caesarean section.
In 2017, Bohren et al. published an updated Cochrane review on the use of continuous support for women during childbirth. The researchers found that overall, birthing women who have continuous support from someone like a doula experience a:
• 25% decrease in the risk of Caesarean (39% decrease with a doula)
• 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth (15% increase with a doula)
• 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
• Shorter labour (by an average of 41 minutes)
• 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five-minute Apgar score
• 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience (mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was • reduced with continuous support provided by a doula, family member or friend, but not hospital staff)
• less Pitocin with continuous support from a doula.
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I am trained as a birth and postpartum care doula with WOMEN OFFERING MOTHERS BIRTHING SUPPORT (WOMBS), a member of Doulas of South Africa (DOSA). I am a registered birth doula service provider with Discovery Health, Momentum Medical Scheme and Fedhealth.
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