The word doula originates from the Greek word for ‘servant’, and is used to describe a person experienced in childbirth who assists birthing people as they journey into motherhood through labour and birth. Doula’s began to increase in the 1980s after increased rates of Cesarean birth were troubling many women and birthing people. Inviting other people such as friends or childbirth instructors to attend births, birthing people hoped to have someone who would enable them to advocate for themselves to avoid intervention.
Doulas provide crucial emotional support during labour for women, birthing people and their partners, and their knowledge allows birthing people to focus on bringing their baby into the world. In labour, doulas offer compassion, empathy, encouragement and advocacy as they assist birthing people with changing positions, massage, imagery and breathing to help experience less pain and greater satisfaction with their birth experience.
“Our body is the windmill, and love, the water
Without water the mill cannot turn”-Rumi