So, what is a doula anyways?
The word doula originates from the Greek term δούλα which means "the woman who serves" and while it was not used to describe a birth support person until the 1970s, women have been supporting each other through birth for centuries!
Doulas have handy tips and tricks up their sleeve to soothe a mama during birth, such as a rebozo or homeopathic remedies for example, and their most powerful tool is education, making sure the parents are completely informed on their choices.
Doulas do not replace midwives, despite what a lot of people think, rather, they complement them in a birth setting very well because the midwife is able to focus on the medical aspect of the birth and the doula can completely provide physical and emotional support to the birthing mother. A doula is not a licensed medical professional and cannot act as such.
Doulas also do not replace fathers, grandmothers, or any other loved one or friend that wants to attend and be a supportive role in the birth, the more the merrier, as long as the mother is happy with those support people being present. Doulas can show these friends and family how to alternate comfort methods for the mother so they can actually be even more involved in the birth. Having a doula present also allows the support people to come and go as they need to, without leaving the mother alone.
Doulas are also not exclusively for a certain "type" of mother, which is another common myth. You do not have to have a medication free, vaginal delivery to be able to use a doula! A doula supports all types of births including cesareans, and this doula even supports unassisted birth.
If natural birth is your goal though, you will love these statistics. Recent studies have shown that having a doula as part of your birth support team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of Pitocin by 40% and use of epidural by 60%!