What is a Doula?
A doula is a person who has experience of childbirth and is trained to provide support and information to the woman giving birth and her loved ones during pregnancy, childbirth and the first period afterwards.
A doula has no medical responsibility, does not give medical advice and her role is clearly delineated in relation to the staff of the labor ward.
With a Doula decreases
- The number of Caesarean sections
- Length of labor
- The need for medical pain relief
- Request for spinal anesthesia
The studies also show that parents who have had the support of a doula are more involved in the birth and feel more satisfied with their experience.
Link to study: "Continuous support for women during childbirth" 2012.
A doula can never - and should never - take over the partner's place. The partner is always the most important support for the birthing person and the doula is as much a support for the partner as for the person giving birth!
How it works
This information relates to arrangements for doula assignments in Sweden.
You and your intended doula meet online or at a cafe/similar for a first free meeting.
Then you usually talk about what a doula does, how your thoughts and wishes go, and what the doula's work and contract look like. The meeting lasts about 30 minutes.
After this meeting, you can think through and consider whether you wish to have the doula with you at your birth or not. Usually, the doula herself wants to hear back within a week of the meeting.
Most often, you and your doula meet for two pre-conversations at your home where you go through practical and theoretical aspects before the birth. You also talk through past experiences, your expectations, thoughts and other wishes and questions before the birth of your child.
On-call and support during birth
Depending on your doula, her duty starts 1-2 weeks before the expected birth until the baby is born. This means that you can call the doula at any time of the day if you think labor has started and then she has an agreed appointment time. You decide when it is time for the doula to come, but the parents are usually asked to "save" on the doula for as long as possible. You decide whether to meet the doula at your home or at the birth.
Backup doula should be included. Ask your intended doula about this.
The backup doula is on call at the same time as the regular doula and steps in when the regular doula or her relative suffers an illness, injury or death that means the regular doula cannot be present at the birth. The back-up doula can also replace the regular doula in the event of a protracted labor.
The backup doula is a trained doula.
After the birth, you and the doula meet for a so-called follow-up call if you want. Then you talk about the birth, how you thought it turned out, how it feels and if there are other thoughts and feelings you want to ventilate.