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Labor Support


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A Doula at Work

If you are a Doula and would like to list your services here, please e-mail info@socalbirth.org


What is a Doula?

"Doula" is a word derived from The Greek meaning "woman servant". In all cultures, from the dawn of time, women have been assisted by other women in childbirth. When one looks at birth art and artifacts from around the world, we see the mother supported in an upright position (standing, hanging, kneeling or squatting) with a helper behind to lean on, and a helper at her feet. This points towards a human way of birth, and can be called "the classic pose." The woman at the birthing woman's feet was The Midwife, who caught the child as he emerged from the woman's body. The one behind or beside the mother was the midwife's and mother's helper, who would have been an aunt, a grandmother, or a neighbor. She is now known as The Doula. She is a professional labor companion who serves women during labor and birth, providing physical comfort, emotional support and advocacy ."Doula", "Childbirth Assistant","Labor Assistant", "Labor Companion", "Birth Partner", "Birth Sister" by any name, she is invaluable to birthing women.The Labor Companion/Doula works collaboratively with the woman's partner and her medical team to help the woman reach her birthing goals.

What Are the Differences between Doulas and Midwives?

The Midwife is responsible for the safety of mother and child. She has extensive training and provides prenatal care, labor and delivery management, and postpartum care as well as family planning services. She may also offer labor support, but her primary role is to ensure the safe passage of woman and baby. A midwife is primary care practitioner, on the level of a Physician's Assistant, or Nurse-Practitioner, who is qualified to provide care in collaboration with a consulting physician. For more information about midwives, go to: Pathways into Midwifery

The Doula on the other hand, provides emotional support, physical comfort and advocacy to clients. She does not make medical decisions or perform clinical skills, unless she is working in the capacity of a Birth Assistant or "Monitrice" (a term coined by French Obstetrician Fredrick Leboyer to mean a nurse who provided some medical assessments of mother and baby), under the supervision of the physician or midwife.

Results of Labor Support

Several studies have shown that women who are attended by Doulas have:

* Shorter Labors
* Less Pain Medication
* Fewer Medical Procedures
* Decreased Rates of Cesearean Sections
* Decreased Augmentation of Labor with Oxytocin
* Increased Satisfaction with their Birth Experience
* Better Infant-Mother Interaction
* Increased Breastfeeding Success
* Decreased Postpartum Depression



Professional Labor Companions and Doulas


For a referral to a Doula, please go to:

The Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators
Doula Association of Southern California
Doulas of North America



A Happy New Mom and her Doula



This directory lists selected labor support professionals who support the ideals of natural childbirth. If you wish to be listed here, please email info@socalbirth.org.