What is a doula?
A doula provides emotional and physical support to you during your pregnancy and childbirth. Doulas are not medical professionals. They don't deliver babies or provide medical care. A certified doula has taken a training program and passed an exam in how to help pregnant women and their families during this exciting but challenging experience.
What does a doula do?
Doulas can perform different roles, depending on your needs. Some common things that doula do for their clients are:
- Labor or birth doulas provide continuous care during labor. Some doulas offer childbirth education classes.
- Postpartum doulas support the new mom during the first few weeks after birth. They help with care and feeding of the baby and household tasks.
During your pregnancy, a birth doula will typically:
- Meet with you during your second or third trimester to get acquainted
- Answer your questions about the birthing process
- Teach you relaxation techniques and breathing skills
- Talk about your birth options, and help you develop a birth plan
During labor, the doula will:
- Stay with you to provide comfort and support. Some doulas provide virtual services, but WellSpan does welcome them to be with you during your labor and birth. A doula is not considered a visitor, so you can have your support person, and a doula, with you.
- Use massage and touch to help you relax and rest
- Help you get into comfortable positions
- Help you get adequate nutrition and fluids as possible
- Help communicate your preferences to the medical staff
- Involve and support your partner or other birth support person
After delivery, a doula can:
- Provide support and encouragement to you and your family after bringing your baby home
- Teach you and your support person how to care for your new baby
- Assist with breastfeeding education and support your ongoing breastfeeding effort
- Support dad and other siblings and teach them how to help you
- Make sure you get plenty of rest, eat regularly, stay hydrated, and are comfortable
How your doula works as part of your delivery team
Your doula can assist you in advocating for yourself. Many times, they assist in developing a birth plan which help the WellSpan team fully understand your birth desires. A doula doesn't replace nursing or other medical staff. They don't examine you, take measurements, or do other clinical tasks.
Will a doula be allowed to be with me at my prenatal appointments and when I am in labor? Yes! WellSpan welcomes doulas in every aspect of care and doulas are not counted as a visitor if visitation is limited.
WellSpan's Doula Policy
Where to find a doula