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What is a Doula?
The word doula comes from ancient Greek and refers to a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and after childbirth. Studies have found that when doulas attend births, labors are shorter with fewer complications. There is less need for oxytocin to speed labor, forceps or vacuum extractor deliveries, pain medication or epidurals, and cesarean deliveries. Babies are healthier and breast feed more easily. The growing acceptance of doulas in maternity care is due to the increased recognition of their key contribution to the improved physical outcome and emotional well-being of mother and infant. Doula's 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.
Is a Doula For You?
A Houston doula study, by Dr. John Kennell, M.D., found that continuous social support during labor significantly reduces the incidence of medical interventions (epidural anesthesia, forceps delivery, and cesarean section), reduces the incidence of neonatal complications and maternal fevers, and shortens the length of labor.
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