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The term “doula” has its origins in Ancient Greece, and it refers to a woman that is trained and has experience in assisting a woman through labour. The role of a doula is to support a woman in labour, wherever she chooses to give birth – a hospital, at home, or in a birthing centre. They provide continuous physical, emotional, and education support from when a woman is pregnant, to birth, and after birth, when the baby is brought home.  It is important to note that a doula is not a midwife, nurse, or medical practitioner. They do not provide medical, nursing, midwifery or therapeutic care, nor will they comment on, interpret, or judge the care that is provided. They are there in a purely advisory and supportive capacity.

The Benefits of Having a Doula

Engaging the services of a doula can make a massive difference to your pregnancy and birth.  Studies have shown that doulas can result in:

  • a 50 percent decrease in the need for a cesarean delivery
  • a 25 percent decrease in the length of labour for first time mothers
  • a 60 percent decrease in epidural request
  • a 40 percent decrease in artificial oxytocin use
  • a 30 percent decrease in forceps use
  • a decrease in the use of pain relief medications

Doulas are also able to provide:

  • professional care and assistance at any time
  • access to resources and information so that people are able to make informed choices about their pregnancy, labour, and childbirth
  • referrals to classes such as ante natal fitness, birth preparation, lactation classes, pregnancy yoga, and also to pregnancy massage services
  • assistance in preparing for the birth such as creating a birth plan or a plan of action
  • post-natal support with breastfeeding or referral to a lactation consultant
  • support for the father
  • general support and care when the baby is first brought home

Cost of a Doula

Doulas will charge anywhere from $400 to $1500 to support a birth. The cost will depend on their level of experience, the amount of time that they spend with you both before and after the birth, and also any other services that they may offer such as pregnancy massage, aromatherapy or birth photography.  When selecting your doula, it is a good idea to interview a few first, so that you find one that you are truly comfortable with.

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