The multifaceted role of a doula includes pre and postnatal support:
- Providing a brief overview of procedures, answering questions about the birthing process and plan, and offering assistance with education and selection of service providers.
- Accompanying the mother through the entire birth process.
- Providing emotional and physical support while suggesting strategies to increase comfort and confidence.
- Guiding the entire family through the process while also providing support to the labour partner.
- Helping mothers to advocate for the strategies that have been expressed in their birth plans.
- Empowering each woman and encouraging a positive experience.
The support of a doula has clear benefits for both mothers and babies. In recent reviews of continuous labour support, authors found that women with doulas were 9% less likely to use pain medication, 28% less likely to have a caesarean birth, 31% less likely to use synthetic hormones to speed up labour and 34% less likely to rate their birthing experience negatively.
(DONA International Birth Doula Manuel, 2012)