Doulas are credited with aiding laboring women in many ways. Services traditionally offered include:
- physical comfort techniques
- breathing assistance
- labor positions education
- assistance with birth plan development
- pre-natal and post-natal physical and mental support
- childcare during labor
Generally, services vary according to practice.
"Really, I do anything asked, and try to support the birthing couple the way they want me to. Some clients need a bit more support and encouragement than others, if they are feeling they can't do it. If the husband or partner is not there, or midwife leaves the room for extended amounts of time, I provide primary service. I give mothers lots of info about what will or might happen, and the risks and benefits of certain things like Vitamin K, premature cutting of the umbilical cord, laboring on your back vs. being mobile, and aromatherapy during labor." - Tonya, Doula
Many moms-to-be worry that having a doula present means there is no place for their husbands. Ask any doula however, and she'll tell you this is not the case. She will attend to the mom to be as much or as little as necessary, while at the same time allowing dad to partner in the labor process as much or as little as he likes.
For more information on midwives or doulas check out the following:
Midwifery: Community Based Care during the Child Bearing Year by Linda V. Walsh and W.B. Saunders
The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth by Marshall H., M.D. Klaus