A birth doula is a supportive companion professionally trained to provide physical and emotional support during labor and birth.
A doula provides continuous support, beginning during early or active labor, through birth, and for approximately 2 hours following birth. The doula offers help and advice on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement, positioning, and massage. She also assists families with gathering information about the course of labor and their options. Her most critical role is providing continuous emotional reassurance and comfort.
Doulas attend home births and hospital births; medicated births and unmediated births, with women whose care is being overseen by Doctors or midwives. Doulas may be the only support for the mother, or may be a part of a labor support team including mom's partner, friend(s), and/or family members.
Doulas do not make decisions for their clients. Their goal is to provide the support and information needed to help the birthing mother have a safe and satisfying birth as the mother defines it.