~~Research has shown that doulas decrease the time of labor, decrease pain perception, and decrease the rate of cesarean section and other interventions. One physician has said that if doulas were a drug, it would be illegal not to provide them to every woman in labor. :-) ~~
Check out this video by DONA (Doulas of North America) about the essentiality of doulas.
The Essential Ingredient: Doula
A labor doula is a trained and experienced labor companion who provides support to a woman and her husband or partner during the childbirth process. She provides:
A doula is an invaluable part of your birth journey. She will provide continuous emotional support, physical comfort, and assistance in obtaining information before, during, and after childbirth. She recognizes that birth is a key life experience that will never be forgotten. Through her understanding of the physiology of childbirth and emotional needs of a laboring woman, she is able to provide support and assistance in a very special way. She stays by the side of a laboring woman, nurturing her and her partner, and protecting the memory of her birth experience.
Additionally, a doula provides education as to the risks and benefits of various options surrounding the birth process. She does not speak for the woman, but rather empowers the woman to speak for herself through information and understanding
A postpartum doula works with the mom AFTER she delivers to provide support in various ways, including breastfeeding support, light household duties, basic newborn care, and other home-based care assistance. A postpartum doula can make a tremendous difference in those first few transitional days at home with a new little person!