Women helping women have babies is a practice as old as childbirth...
The word “doula” (pronounced doo-luh) comes from ancient Greek and is now used to refer to “a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after childbirth”. A doula does not take the place of any healthcare provider or the woman's partner. She is there solely for the mother and her partner's physical and emotional comfort. The healthcare provider and staff, the mother, her partner, and the doula work together as a team in one of the most momentous events in a woman's life.
A doula is knowledgeable and experienced in the process of birth and the needs of the laboring woman. She has extensive training in techniques to use to help ease discomforts and help labor progress with the least amount of interventions. Some doulas are also childbirth educators and may offer information on exercises, nutrition, comfort measures and relaxation techniques. A doula meets with the parents prior to the birth to help facilitate the parent's wishes to help make this birth experience the way they would like it to be.
During labor, the doulas presence allows the laboring woman to relax and feel safe while her healthcare providers monitor the birth. The doula supports the new mother and her partner in whatever way necessary, allowing the partner to participate at their own comfort level. The doula cares for the mother at home in early labor and continues to labor with her at her planned place of birth, where the doula is familiar with their policies and procedures.
Whether hours or days, the doula stays throughout labor and birth. She provides continuous care and support, particularly with a lengthy labor when at the hospital nursing shifts still change every 8-12 hours. And, as sometimes happens, the mother's caregiver may have another on-call caregiver at the time of delivery, therefore the doula may be the only one source of planned care from start to finish.
After the birth, the doula assists the mother with initiating breastfeeding. The doula stays for an hour or so afterwards and then gives the family some quiet bonding time together. The doula may then meet with the family again for a follow-up visit during the postpartum period.
Research studies have found that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter, there are fewer complications and there is less need for oxytocin to speed labor, for forceps or vacuum extractor deliveries or for pain medications, epidurals or cesarean deliveries. Babies are also healthier and breastfeed more easily.
A birth doula...
Recognizes childbirth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life.
Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.
Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth.
Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor.
Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions.
Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and clinical care providers, like the midwife, doctors, and nurses.
Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of her birth experience.
The acceptance of doulas in maternity care is growing rapidly with the recognition of their important contribution to the improved physical outcome and emotional well being of mothers and infants. They are found in many birth settings, from the home to the hospital, and work in cooperation with physicians, nurses, midwives and the partners and families of laboring women.
Statistics show the presence of a doula can help you reduce the chances of:
Cesarean Section by 50%
Induction of Labor by 40%
Pain Medication by 30%
Epidural Anesthesia by 60%
Forceps and/or Vacuum by 40%
Length of Labor by 25%
In addition, long term benefits of labor support include:
Improved success in breastfeeding
Decreased postpartum depression
Greater maternal satisfaction
Better mother-infant interaction
*The above information is compiled from DONA and Mothering the Mother, by MH Klaus, JH Kennell, and PH Klaus; Addison Wesley Publishing Co., 1993.*
- Initial Consultation
- One to Two Prenatal Visits
- Home or Office Option
- Education and Preparation
- Extensive Lending Library
- Realistic Birthplan Development
- 24 Hour On-Call
- Labor Support
- Birth Assistance
- Immediate Postpartum Support
- Initiation of Breastfeeding
- Birth Photos
- Birth Videography
- Detailed Birth Report
- One Postpartum Visit
- Professional Referrals
Since receiving doula certification in 1996, I have professionally attended births at the following 43 alphabetically listed hospitals...
- Anaheim General Hospital (Anaheim)
- Anaheim Memorial Medical Center (Anaheim)
- Bellwood General Hospital (Bellflower)
- Bellflower Medical Center (Bellflower)
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles / Beverly Hills)
- Citrus Valley Medical Center/Queen of the Valley (West Covina)
- Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital (Inglewood)
- Downey Regional Medical Center (Downey)
- Good Samaritan Hospital (Los Angeles)
- Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian (Newport Beach)
- Huntington Hospital (Pasadena)
- Irvine Medical Center (Irvine)
- Kaiser Bellflower (Bellflower)
- Kaiser Downey (Downey)
- Kaiser Harbor City (Harbor City)
- Kaiser Irvine (Irvine)
- Kaiser Lakeview (Anaheim)
- Kaiser Riverside (Riverside)
- Lakewood Regional Medical Center (Lakewood)
- Little Company of Mary (San Pedro)
- Little Company of Mary (Torrance)
- Long Beach Community Hospital (Long Beach)
- Long Beach Memorial Medical Center (Long Beach)
- Los Alamitos Medical Center (Los Alamitos)
- Los Robles Hospital Medical Center (Thousand Oaks)
- Mission Hospital (Mission Viejo)
- Moreno Valley Community Hospital (Moreno Valley)
- Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center (Fountain Valley)
- Placentia-Linda Hospital (Placentia)
- Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital (Whittier)
- Saddleback Memorial Medical Center (Laguna Hills)
- South Coast Medical Center (Laguna Beach)
- St. John's Health Center (Santa Monica)
- St. Joseph Hospital (Orange)
- St. Jude Medical Center (Brea)
- St. Luke Medical Center (Pasadena)
- St. Mary Medical Center (Long Beach)
- Suburban Medical Center (Paramount)
- Torrance Memorial Medical Center (Torrance)
- UCI Medical Center (Irvine)
- US Naval Hospital (Yokosuka, Japan)
- West Anaheim Medical Center (Anaheim)
- Whittier Hospital Medical Center (Whittier)
A postpartum doula…
Mothers the mother and offers education and support to the family through the adjustment period.
Can assist with light housekeeping, baby laundry, shopping and errands.
Provides mommy and baby care, breastfeeding support and emotional nurturing after the birth.
- Mommy Care
- Baby Care
- Light Housekeeping
- Light Cooking
- Baby Laundry
- Breastfeeding Support
- Minimum 4 Hour Shifts
- Candace Leach, LM, CPM
- Licensed Midwife & Certified Doula
- PO Box 4714 Lakewood, CA 90711
© Candace Leach, LM, CPM 1996 - 2012