It stands to reason that pregnant women with strong, steady support during labor and delivery have better birth experiences. Indeed, a 2012 Cochrane review conclusively finds that continuous labor support is associated with a number of positive outcomes for moms and babies and cites no known adverse effects. These effects are most consistent when labor support is provided by someone who isn’t a friend or family member, and not a member of the hospital staff – someone like a doula.
A doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and after birth. Unlike physicians, midwives, and obstetrical nurses who provide medical care, a doula provides support in the nonmedical aspects of labor and delivery.