Role of a Doula

The word “Doula” originates from ancient Greece, meaning “female caregiver” or “hand maiden”.

A Doula these days is a woman experienced and trained in offering emotional and practical support to a woman (or couple), before, during and after childbirth.

In many cultures around the world, the women in the community gather together around the time of child birth to look after and support the new mum in pregnancy and through to the first weeks and months, at which time they would take over her chores so that she is able to nurture, feed, and bond with the newborn. The mum is likely to need this time to recover from both the pregnancy and the birth. Sadly, this is lacking in western society, and mothers are very often left to cope alone, particularly when their families are distant or unable to give their time.

This is such a special period in the life of both the mother and her newborn – they really should be given every opportunity to enjoy and relax together. Support at this crucial time has been shown to reduce the incidence of post natal depression.

In helping the mother, this in turn helps the father – he will feel good if the mum is feeling good. Sometimes the expectations of fathers, especially new dads is unrealistic and can be overwhelming. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure. A father is a father, he cannot possibly assume the role of a mother figure, this is where a Doula is invaluable.

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