Sarah Hadjes, Certified Doula with DONA International

Serving Tacoma and surrounding Pierce County

What is a doula?

Doula is from a Greek word that means 'trusted servant'. A doula today offers professional labor assistance. Usually a woman, she acts as a knowledgeable support person to comfort, aid and encourage the laboring woman as she works through the birth of her child and emerges as a mother. Doulas are trained and experienced to support mothers and fathers in all settings; hospitals, birth centers and homes.

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula's presence at birth:

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one's childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • reduces the mother's request for pain medication and/or epidurals

Research shows parents who receive support can:

  • feel more secure and cared for
  • be more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
  • have greater success with breastfeeding
  • have greater self-confidence
  • have less postpartum depression

Doulas offer support through a variety of methods:

  • consistent words of encouragement
  • massage
  • aromatherapy
  • suggestions for alternate labor positions and comfort measures
  • facilitating a calm productive environment
  • gentle confidence that is found through experience

Whatever the hopes, dreams and expectations you have for your birth experience, a doula's role is to offer constant support throughout your birth, specifically suited to your physical and emotional needs.