What is a Doula and what does it do

The doula has the function of accompanying the pregnant woman during the period of pregnancy, delivery and postpartum period. This word has a Greek origin, and means "woman who serves", due to its role of supporting, encouraging, offering comfort and emotional support in these moments.

Despite not being a health professional, and his work facilitates the existence of a more humanized delivery, since it is common for women to feel helpless at this moment. In addition, it is common for doulas to advocate the most natural birth possible, as a minimum of medical interventions.

However, it is important to remember that, despite the capacity and preparation for deliveries, the doula does not have enough knowledge to intervene in case of complications or situations that endanger the health of the mother or baby, so it is recommended that no delivery happen without the presence of the health professional, as an obstetrician, pediatrician and nurse. Find out how any woman can be entitled to a humanized delivery, even in the hospital.

What is your role

The doula's main functions are:

  • Provide guidance and facilitate preparation for childbirth;
  • Encourage normal delivery;
  • Ask questions and reduce anxieties related to childbirth and the couple's life with the new baby;
  • Suggest ways to relieve pain, through positions or massages;
  • Offer emotional support before, during and after delivery;
  • Support and assistance with first baby care.

In this way, the presence of the doula, both at home and in the hospital, can favor the reduction of the pregnant woman's anxiety, pain, besides facilitating a calm and welcoming environment. Check out how home birth happens, the risks and what women can do.

Care that must be taken

Despite the benefits, it is important to remember that the presence of the doula does not replace the role of health professionals, as an obstetrician, pediatrician and nurses, as they are the only ones capable of acting in case of complications or urgency during delivery, which, despite are not common, they may appear during any delivery.

In addition, some doulas may advise against procedures that are considered important by doctors, such as monitoring the baby's vital signs and not using silver nitrate or vitamin K, for example. The performance of these procedures is necessary and recommended by doctors because they are done as a way to reduce the risk to the health of the mother or baby.

In addition, post-term delivery or prolongation of labor beyond the time recommended by doctors can have serious consequences and risk of death during delivery. Know in what situations it may be necessary to induce labor.