Genesis Maternity Clinic endorses Doulas
The word ‘doula’, pronounced ‘dooh-la’ - is a Greek word meaning ‘handmaiden or caregiver’.
What is a doula? A doula offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth.
The role of the birth doula encompasses the non-medical aspects of care during childbirth. Doulas are trained and experienced in childbirth, while they have a good knowledge and awareness of the birth process, a doula does not support the mother in a medical role. That is the job of the midwife, or obstetrician.
A doulas help is a valuable addition to the birth team. Your birth support team are the people you will rely on to get you through your toughest, most intense moments. Doulas are trained in the art of birth support, and have a keen eye and intuition on what a labouring mother needs.
Genesis Clinic has staff doulas on duty at every shift, however there is no guarantee that the Genesis staff doula will be available at the time of your birth. In this regard, whether you are birthing with a private midwife, or if you are birthing in our In-House Birth Unit, you can still have the option of hiring a private doula for your birth.
We recommend talking to your midwife for a list of doulas she has worked with. It is important to connect with your doula and feel like you can trust her. She will be with you during one of the most intimate and vulnerable times in your life, so your comfort with her is vital.
"If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."
~ John H. Kennell, MD
What Does a Doula Do?
A doula is trained in labour and childbirth and provides continuous support to a labouring mother. Her focus is tending to and helping the mom and supporting the relationship of the labouring couple. Doulas support labouring women by:
- Providing continuous emotional and physical support
- Giving information if asked and helping the mother find resources to research her birth choices before labour
- Using comfort measures like massage, suggesting different positions and helping with relaxation breathing
- Accommodating the mother’s wishes for the birth environment (low light, soft music, etc) in the place of birth
- Encouraging the mother to be informed about any procedures and interventions (a doula does NOT give medical advice or interfere with the midwife/mother relationship)
- Supporting the father/partner in the best way to support the mother. A doula never replaces the very important role of the father/partner and a doula will help the birth partner by suggesting ways that he can support the labouring mom and things that can improve their synergy in labour.
*A Cochrane review published in 2012 found that in labours with the continuous presence of a doula, labouring mothers experienced:
- 28% less likely to have a caesarean section
- 31% less likely to use of induction
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a vaginal birth
- 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively