What is a doula?
A doula provides emotional, physical, and spiritual support for expectant mothers and their families during pregnancy, labour, and the postpartum period. Building on the role of the traditional Aunty, Aboriginal doulas can assist in honouring traditional and spiritual practices and beliefs associated with maternity care and support the language and cultural needs of the woman and her family.
Additional benefits of the continuous, supportive care that a doula provides during pregnancy, labour, and the postpartum period include:
• ensuring the expectant mother and her family feel comfortable and supported and fully understand their maternity care decisions;
• assisting her and her family to communicate their expectations, hopes, fears, and any concerns about the birth of their baby;
• supporting her to find her strength and place of power in giving birth;
• encouraging and providing reassurance to her partner and family, so they feel more confident in being involved in providing support;
• helping to create an ideal atmosphere for the birth, breastfeeding, and attachment/bonding between the baby and her and other family members;
• providing the new mother and her family with emotional support and information following the birth, in the home and in the community; and
• connecting and referring the mother and her family to additional supports if needed
Watch this 10-minute video, which includes personal stories from Aboriginal women who have had doula care during their pregnancy.