Birth doulas provide informational, physical, and emotional support. They are usually hired prenatally, and spend time with families developing a relationship and helping to make connections to resources and information. During labor, a doula is there as a continuous presence as active labor begins, remaining with a family until the birth, and staying a few hours afterwards. After the birth, a birth doula continues to check in on the family, providing 1-2 postpartum visits, as well as some email/text support, again helping to make connections to resources and information.
While we try our best to provide comprehensive backup for each other, there might be times where we have to bring in other doulas from the community that we know and trust to provide backup care.
THE EVIDENCE ON DOULAS
Evidence shows lower rates of cesarean, lower pain drug use, lower vacuum/forceps delivery, and higher Apgar scores for families who had the continuous support of a doula. Families also had higher rates of spontaneous birth, shorter labors, and generally reported more positive feelings about their birth experiences. There is no evidence of adverse effects.