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What is a doula?

A doula is someone who understands the physiology of birth and who provides emotional and informational support, supported with scientific evidence, whenever possible, from pre-conception to postpartum .

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What does a doula do?

During pregnancy , the doula offers informative support, helping the woman and her significant other find relevant information based on scientific evidence about pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. It can address topics such as experiencing a more conscious pregnancy, the physiology of childbirth and pain relief during childbirth. It also helps with creating the birth plan. It also provides emotional support, to contribute to a more harmonious and connected experience of pregnancy.

During labor , the doula offers physical and emotional support, helping the pregnant woman find comfortable positions and relieve pain through non-pharmacological methods. She also provides emotional support, encouraging the pregnant woman and helping her maintain confidence during the birth. It is also a source of security and enlightenment for the woman's significant other.

After the birth , the doula continues to provide support to the family and the baby, for example, on issues related to breastfeeding, providing guidance on newborn care and offering emotional support during the transition to life with a new baby.

I see a doula as someone who holds your hand and walks side by side with you. This path involves active listening, with an open heart and without judgment, sharing and growth.

The doula is present, available and attentive, contributing to a more peaceful, harmonious and conscious experience .

Meaning of Doula

The Greek term "dúle" in its modern conception was used by anthropologist Dana Raphael to refer to people who helped new mothers during childbirth, breastfeeding and newborn care .

What are the advantages of being accompanied by a doula?

  • More comfort and safety for the mother;

  • Reduction of anxiety and pain during labor;

  • Greater confidence among pregnant women in their bodies during pregnancy and childbirth;

  • Greater information about women’s rights during pregnancy and childbirth;

  • Greater involvement of the woman's significant other in pregnancy and childbirth;

  • Promotion of first breastfeeding and support in decision-making about breastfeeding;

  • Continuous, personalized and non-judgmental support.

A 2002 study, carried out by Klaus & Kennel , clearly indicates the benefits of having a doula

- reducing the cesarean section rate by 50%;
- reducing the duration of labor by 25%;
- increased breastfeeding rates;
- increased maternal satisfaction;
- reduction in rates of Postpartum Depression.

What doesn't a doula do?

  • The doula does not deliver the baby. Childbirth is a process for the woman and the baby.

  • The doula does not perform any medical act or interfere with the medical team.

  • The doula does not accompany any pregnancy or birth that is not accompanied by health professionals with the skills to do so.

  • The doula does not make decisions for clients.

  • Doulas do not empower pregnant women or couples. Empowerment is an internal and individual process.

  • The doula does not guarantee the humanization of childbirth, but defends it. However, childbirth is a process that concerns the person giving birth and the baby being born.

Where to find a Doula?

If you are looking for a Pre-Conception, Pregnancy and Childbirth or Postpartum Doula, find out more about my services here .

Doulas in Portugal

In Portugal, there are several doula training entities. I belong to the Portuguese Network of Doulas , which has dozens of pregnancy and birth, postpartum and breastfeeding Doulas, courses lasting more than 100 hours (in accordance with European standards) and a unique and exemplary Code of Ethics in Portugal.

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