A doula is a nonmedical person who assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, as well as her partner and/or family by providing information, physical assistance, and emotional support. The provision of continuous support during labour by doulas (as well as nurses, family, or friends) is associated with improved maternal and fetal health and a variety of other benefits. A variety of organizations offer certification and training to doulas, though there is no oversight to their practice and the title can be used by anyone. In contrast to the goal of medical professionals (a safe childbirth), the goal of a doula is to ensure the mother feels safe and confident before, during, and after delivery.
Contributions by Gillyweed, Maustrauser, and Tessa Morales.