A Doula (doo-la) is a trained peer who supports the birthing mother and her partner during the preparation for and birth of a baby. The doula fills a unique role in modern maternity in the social relationship that used to be held by the elders in the woman’s own village.
The doula celebrates the emergence of a mother or a “mother again” by holding the pregnant and birthing woman in high regard. Several studies, first by Kennel and Klaus, and recently by Hodnett, show the medical benefits of social support given by a non-medical person who’s only role is to focus on the mother’s experience. A key component of successful doula care is the continuous presence; the doula comes for the entire birth, not even taking a meal break.
Doulas vary in their knowledge about fetal positioning. Comfort measure knowledge is fairly universal. Knowledge about fetal positioning is an added bonus at a doula training or is self-acquired, additional information.
If you are a pregnant woman seeking doula care, ask the doulas you interview, what their experience is with long or posterior labors. Ask how she might support a goal of a natural birth and work with the hospital staff to protect your birth. Most parents don’t realize that the nursing staff, doctor or midwife isn’t often able to give the time or may not even have the skills to overcome a stall in labor, perhaps due to baby’s head position. And ask for examples of the doula working well with the nurses, as many nurses are learning techniques to support baby’s rotation to a better position. A happy team feeling creates a life long memory of warmth.
Here’s a mother sharing her experience on the comments after a dynamic description of doulas at HuffingtonPost.com
Emily Hughes · Asbury University
I had a similar experience to Jaclyn. My baby was in a poor position (posterior), but no one told me how to position myself during labor to get him to turn. As a result, I ended up with a c-section. Second time around, I had a doula. She helped me get into the best positions to get my baby in the proper position for birth. I had an natural, unmedicated VBAC! Doulas fill a hole that no one else is filling in modern hospitals.