The word Doula is derived from the Greek and the literal meaning is hand maiden. But a more modern description of a Doula would be someone who “mothers the mother”.

In the past this role would of been performed by a close family relative i.e. Mother or sisters, but sadly nowadays for a variety of reasons, this isn’t always possible and more and more women are turning to Doulas for emotional and practical support, both during labour, birth and post-natally.

There are two kinds of Doula:  Birth or Labour Doula and Post-natal or Post birth Doula.

Birth Doula:

Meets with her client ante-natally and works towards meeting the needs of both parents in order to enhance a positive birth experience. The birth Doula stays with the couple (or Woman only) during the whole of the labour, regardless of length of time spent in labour. The birth Doula will provide continuous emotional support during the labour and can offer advice on relaxation and positioning. Some birth Doulas are trained in massage and reflexology which can help relaxation during labour.

A Birth Doula will also stand as an advocate for the couple ensuring good communication with the professionals;  however it must be stressed that she is not a midwife and does not make clinical decisions, or perform clinical tasks.

There has been a lot of research particularly in America which has found that the support of a Doula during labour can reduce the need for medical intervention-for instance the use of epidurals forceps and caesarean births. And those mothers were more responsive to their new babies. In all, having a Birth Doula means you are more likely to have a more positive and fulfilling birth experience.

If you are interested in more information, please contact