What is a Doula?
A doula is a professional labor support person who assists the expectant mother and her partner to prepare for birth. She offers education as well as physical comfort and emotional support during labor and birth. A doula helps a mother and her partner know what to expect and to be aware of the many choices and options available to them.
Benefits of a Doula
Doula care has been found to improve birth outcomes and reduce health disparities. Evidence demonstrates that doula support increases likelihood of safer, healthier and more satisfying birth experiences. Reducing unnecessary medical procedures can prevent complications, such as:
- 28% reduction in Cesarean Section
- shorter labors
- fewer forceps and vacuum births
- less anesthesia for less time
- higher apgar scores
- more positive feelings about birth
- improved patient satisfaction.
The benefits of doula care are strongly supported in medical literature. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that doula support was among the most effective of 41 birth practices reviewed. It was found that continuous labor support is among the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes and is likely underused.
Utah has one of the oldest and largest doula associations in the country. You may locate a doula on utahdoulas.org.