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What Is a Doula?

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Question: What Is a Doula?
What is a doula? I've heard a lot of women hire a doula to assist them during childbirth; what does a doula do? How do I become a doula?
Answer: A doula is a person who helps a pregnant mother as a labor coach. The word "doula" comes from an ancient Greek word meaning "woman's servant".

According to Lisa Klemanski, a doula who owns AngelBaby Doula Partners in Boulder, Colorado, a doula "a professional who is experienced in childbirth and provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support. . . before, during, and after childbirth." A doula does not replace a mid-wife, physician, or other medical professional. Instead, a doula provides non-medical emotional and physical support to the mother during labor and delivery.

"Studies have shown when using a Doula there is a significant reduction in labor time, interventions, cesarean births, and pain medications," Klemanski states. A doula also helps gather and relay information to the mother to help her with key decisions during labor and delivery. However, a doula also does not replace the patient's husband or partner. Instead, often the doula may provide emotional support and relief for the spouse who may also be under a great deal of stress during the labor and delivery process.

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