“Doula” in the ancient Greek language means “mothering the mother, a woman caregiver.”
The Role of a Birth Doula
Doulas help expectant mothers and their families in a number of ways before, during, and after childbirth. A doula can help expectant mothers by:

• Referring compassionate and understanding doctors and midwives.
• Providing information on available childbirth and parenting classes.
• Working with mothers on a birth plan.
• Being present in the early stages of labor at a hospital.
• Providing continuous emotional and physical support during labor and birth.
• Teaching family and/or their partner how to comfort and support them during labor.
• Providing support after childbirth on how to cope with the challenges of motherhood.
• Teaching mothers how to bond with their baby and successfully breastfeed.
• Providing newborn and parenting information about infant and baby/toddler development stages.

The Benefits of a Birth Doula
Studies have shown that women who have the continuous support – like that of a doula – with them during labor and birth experienced:

• An overall reduction of 28% in cesarean deliveries.
• A reduction in the length of labor.
• A 31% reduction in the use of labor inducing medication during delivery.
• A 12% increase in the likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth, that is, birth without assistance of forceps or vacuum.
• A 9% reduction in the use of pain medications.
• A 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery.
• A 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience.*

* Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub5
Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests women attended by doulas do not have as many secondary complications like maternal infection, maternal fever, newborn complications, and postpartum depression.