A Doula, or childbirth assistant, is a labor support person who has specific training and experience in providing informational, emotional, and physical support during the childbearing experience, especially during labor and immediately after the birth.
During pregnancy, Doulas perform home visits to help her get to know the mother and partner and learn what sort of support they are seeking. The Doula helps them explore their birthing options, assists them in writing a birth plan, and supports their decisions. She will normally meet with the couple at least twice before the birth.
During labor and birth, Doulas provide whatever kind of help is most needed by the mother and partner. The Doula joins the laboring mother as soon as the mother wants or needs her company, and stays with the mother for the whole labor, providing the continuous support that is proven to reduce medical interventions and increase satisfaction with the birth.
Doulas provide support to the mothers, they do not perform clinical tasks and they are not midwives (they do not deliver babies).
The business of mothering the mother
The Madriella program is not a job training program or vocational school, it is a continuing education course offered by the nation’s largest provider of continuing education for massage therapists, the Somatic Arts and Sciences Institute.
Most of our graduates are Massage Therapists or Nurses that are already working with pregnant women, others are women that want to help friends or family members, and some are women that just want to learn.
The Doula difference…
Women who take advantage of Doula services during birth have reported the following:
50% reduction in the cesarean rate
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps delivery
The role of the Doula is an ancient one. Years ago, when women exclusively gave birth at home in the care of skilled midwives, women had their female family members support and guide them. But with the development of obstetrics and hospital births in the last century, women became estranged from the birth process, and family members lost sufficient knowledge and confidence to guide a woman.
That is why we have Doulas
The word “Doula” comes from ancient Greek, meaning “a woman who serves.” Today, “Doula” refers to a woman trained to provide emotional, physical and informational support to women throughout their pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum period.
Doulas can assist women with births at home, in the hospital or at a birth center, and they provide pain management techniques, reassurance, and advocacy in the labor room.
Pass on your wisdom and experience
Being a Doula is a great way to share your knowledge and experience with women who desperately need the help and guidance of a mentor and birth assistant. It’s our mission to see as many women as possible trained to assist each other in birth, so Madriella is designed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge. Our Doulas are encouraged to pass on what they have learned by mentoring new Doulas and by becoming Madriella web site affiliates.