A doula, also known as a birth companion and post-birth supporter, is a non-medical person who assists a woman before, during, and/or after childbirth, as well as her spouse and/or family, by providing physical assistance and emotional support.
The provision of continuous support during labour is associated with improved maternal and fetal health and a variety of other benefits, including lower risk of induction and interventions and less need for pain relief. These benefits are particularly significant when continuous support is provided by someone who is not there as family/friend or as medical staff (i.e. a doula). Additionally, a doula is sometimes hired to work with families beyond the postpartum stages, providing continued physical and emotional support, for as long as needed.
There is research to support the beneficial effects of doulas on both maternal and newborn or infant health, including shorter delivery times, fewer caesarean sections and complications, the use of fewer medications and fetal extraction tools, less time in neonatal intensive care units, positive psychological benefits for mothers, more satisfying birth experiences, and increased breastfeeding.
Restorative Health has three birth doulas on staff: Desiree Walde, Jennifer Lowden, and Tonya Rodney. Please visit their biographies for more information on their birth doula services.
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