Doula (pronounced “doo-lah”) is a word derived from the ancient Greek language originally meaning, “slave”. Today the term “doula” is commonly used to describe a trained and professional woman who serves other women in childbirth.
Utilizing a labor doula may in fact be one of the best decisions you make for your birth experience. The role of your doula solely exists to serve you and your birth partner, assisting you to have the most comfortable and fulfilling birth experience possible.
Because studies have shown that women’s strongest feelings in terms of their birthing, positive or negative, root back to the way they were treated by their caregivers, it is a strong conviction of NOVA doulas to see that birthing women are treated with the utmost of compassionate care.
Regardless of the type of birth you are planning – medicated birth, unmedicated birth, surgical birth, vaginal birth after cesarean, waterbirth, hospital, home, or birth center birth – a NOVA doula is an invaluable, resourceful presence to have at your side, providing continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to you and your birth support team before, during, and after childbirth.
The way a woman gives birth has the potential to change how she feels about herself forever. The way she feels has consequences for how she mothers and cares for her baby, her relationships, and for society. Every baby deserves to be welcomed into their mother’s arms with love and respect.
A Labor Doula
- Recognizes birth as a pivotal experience you will remember and reflect on for the rest of your life
- Understands the physiology of birth and your emotional needs during labor
- Assists you in preparing for and carrying out your preferences for birth
- Stays with you throughout labor
- Provides informational support helping you and your support team to make informed decisions concerning your birth
- Provides suggestions for physical comfort techniques
- Allows your birth support team to participate at their comfort level
- Studies have proven that women supported by a labor support professional during labor and childbirth reap these benefits:
- 25% shorter labor
- 50% reduction in cesarean rate
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 40% reduction in oxytocin use
- 30% reduction in use of pain medications
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery
- Reduced levels of anxiety
- Mothers report more positive reviews of their birth experience
- Mothers have more acute sensitivity toward their newborns
- Mothers feel more secure and have more confidence
- Reduced incidence of post-partum depression
*Information was obtained from Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can HelpYou Have a Shorter Easier and Healthier Birth, Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus (1993).
“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” -John H. Kennell, MD
“I couldn’t and wouldn’t practice obstetrics today without doulas. They give me the confidence in knowing the laboring woman is not frightened or alone, and is always in the capable hands of a professional labor assistant. The quality and continuity of care should not be regarded as a ‘fringe benefit’, ‘an extra’, but as an essential and irreplaceable part of the birthing experience.” ~ H. Ellis, M.D
Doulagrapher. NOVA has coined the term “doulagrapher” to describe our labor doulas who, in addition to offering labor support during your birth, provide quality photography services. Most mothers love having moments throughout their labor and birth process captured, as memories can become quite foggy after having a baby and once Momnesia sets in. (Momnesia: when a mom’s brain becomes preoccupied with all things MOM).
Your doulagrapher would simply serve as both your doula and birth photographer at the same time. She would bring her own camera equipment and remain respectfully discreet in capturing this sacred event. You and your doulagrapher will discuss and decide before the birth exactly how you want the birth photography services customized to meet your needs.
The awesomeness doesn’t stop there. After your birth, your doulagrapher will edit your pictures and create a photobook of your birth story for you to cherish as a keepsake. You will also receive a CD of ALL the photos captured.
Monitrice Services (a.k.a. Doula With Benefits)
Our Monitrice services are provided by a Certified Professional Midwife who is also a registered Nurse. She serves as a non-medical birth attendant with basic assessment and clinical skills. Her skills include observing vital signs on mother, fetal heart tones on baby, vaginal exams for progress of labor, newborn assessment and care, and breastfeeding help.
These skills are performed during labor at home. The monitrice does not perform these tasks at the hospital, birthing center, or when the midwife has come to your home, unless the caregiver consents. She is knowledgeable about normal childbearing and encourages the mother to see her caregiver when there are medical questions.