A birth doula is a person who assists the family before, during and immediately after the birth of their baby.
During the pregnancy, the doula learns about the mother's concerns and priorities for the birth. She stays in close phone contact as the due date approaches providing reassurance and ensuring her availability for labor. She also helps mom to understand any issues that arise and helps to research subjects pertinent to that mother’s pregnancy and labor.
While the mother is in labor, the doula supports the mother and her partner, continuously. There are no shift changes. The doula offers comforting touch and massage, emotional support, and reassurance in the birth process. She provides hot and cold compresses at just the right time and assists the mother in effective positions for labor and birth. She also provides simple explanations of obstetrical terms and procedures. Her continuous care is provided throughout labor until after the baby is born.
Following the birth of the baby, the doula offers breastfeeding assistance, information and support. She can take photos and help the family with their immediate needs. The doula visits again soon after the birth to review the experience with the family, answer any questions and supply referrals to postpartum services or provides postpartum care herself.