No! But it’s ok if that’s what you thought…it is a funny word. Actually...
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Source: DONA International
A birth doula is a support person or coach who assists the mother in preparing for birth and accompanies the family during labour and delivery and provides emotional, informational and physical support.
Benefits of Continuous Labour Support:
Source: Continuous support for women during childbirth (Cochrane Review) Hodnett, E.D., Gates, S., Hofmeyr, G. J., Sakala, C. The Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2004. & A comparison of intermittent and continuous support during labor: a meta-analysis. Scott, K.D., Berkowitz, G., Klaus, M. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 1999 May. 180(5): 1054-9.
A postpartum doula provides support after the birth, usually with newborn care, family adjustment, assists with meal preparation, light housekeeping and provides evidence-based information about infant feeding as well as emotional and physical recovery from birth.
Benefits of Postpartum support:
"Pam has been my miracle. She was there for me throughout my very long labour, helping me physically with exercises to progress my labour and to help with contractions and pain, and mentally, to help me through it all. She supported me with all my decisions and my birth plan, and supported my family as well. As a single mom, I couldn't imagine doing it over without her!"