The following points refer to a labour/birth doula. There are also antenatal and postpartum doulas whose roles are different.
Also, this is an ideal scenario. For instance, just recently, I realized, while I seek to offer balanced information, even this is dependent on the materials I’ve read to date.
These are simply generalities. Feel free to interview a number of doulas to find the best match for you.
1. A doula educates you as to your birth options. She does not try to influence you to choose the option she thinks is best.
2. A doula researches your questions regarding pregnancy and childbirth that are beyond her knowledge base. She does not claim to have all the answers.
3. A doula makes herself available increasingly as the “birth day” approaches. She does not go on vacation the week before your EDD (estimated due date) . . . not without telling you well in advance and referring you to her back-up at least.
4. A doula offers encouragement and comfort measures. She does not expect you to worry about her feelings as you are labouring. (Tell your doula what is and what isn’t helping. That’s why she’s there.)
5. A doula will help you get established during the first week or two as a new family. Again, she will not try to influence you to do things her way.
If you have any questions or comments about the role of a labour doula, please feel free to share.