What is a doula?

 "Doula" refers to a supportive companion (other than a friend or loved one) who is professionally trained to provide labor support.  She performs no clinical tasks. "Doula" also refers to lay women who are trained or experienced in providing postpartum care - mother and newborn care, breastfeeding support and advice, cooking, child care, errands, and light cleaning - for the family.  To distinguish between the two types of doulas, one may refer to "birth doulas" and "postpartum doulas".   A doula provides: physical, emotional, and informational support to women and their partners during labor and birth, help and advice on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, massage and positioning; assistance to families in gathering information about the course of their labor and their options; continuous emotional reassurance and comfort; non-medical skills such as massage and other non-pharmacological pain relief measures assistance to partners who want to play an active support role help so the woman has a safe and satisfying childbirth as the woman defines it.  

Where can I find a doula?  
Places you can try to find a doula:  Doulas of North America organizations dealing with childbirth your birth place (hospital or birth center) your childbirth educator your care provider lactation consultants La Leche League members anyone who has recently had a baby or works in the field 

Questions to ask a prospective doula: 

We gratefully acknowledge the Doulas of North America for this information.  For more information see their website at  www.dona.com