What is a doula?
The simple answer to this question is that doulas provide emotional and physical support to the mother and her partner during her pregnancy and labor. This support can come in many different forms: soothing touch, encouraging words, a calm presence, or suggesting different positions for the mother to try during the phases of labor. Additionally, the doula is an advocate for the mother's wishes and can help to voice her desires to medical personnel that may be attending the birth.
As part of their training, doulas are taught positions for labor, breathing techniques, alternative methods to reduce pain, and are educated in childbirth. They offer a unique role on the birth team and are able to provide emotional support to the mother that her partner or midwife/OB may not be able to provide. The doula's priority is the mother and her needs.