Doula Information - What is a Doula?

A doula is a woman who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to laboring women and their partners.

The Doulas of North America (DONA) is an international organization of doulas who uphold high standards of practice and ethics. A certified doula is trained in providing support and physical comfort through labor and birth. I have received training in comfort measures (both natural and medical); physiological and emotional development of both mother and baby during pregnancy and childbirth; pregnancy complications and medical procedures; relaxation techniques; optimal fetal positioning; and other areas. I work independently, for my clients, not for hospitals or care providers.

I do not perform clinical tasks, make medical or other decisions for you or speak to your care providers for you.

Specifically, I work with physical pressure (massage and counterpressure), changing positions regularly, visualization, hydrotherapy, and aromatherapy, among other things, during labor with my clients.

Having a doula present has been clinically shown to:

  1. Reduce labor time by 25%.
  2. Reduce the rate of Caesarean birth by 45%.
  3. Reduce use of labor-inducing drugs by 50%.
  4. Reduce use of forceps by 34%.
  5. Reduce pain medication by 31%.
  6. Reduce requests of epidurals, by 10-60%.

Doulas are also associated with:

  • Better postpartum outcome, including postpartum depression.
  • More successful breastfeeding.
  • Greater satisfaction of the mother with her birth experience.
  • Better assessment by the mother of her newborn's temperament, appearance, health, and competence.

Sources: Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, Ann Keppler, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, The Complete Guide. (New York: Meadowbrook Press, 2001). John H. Kennel, MD, Marshall H. Klaus, MD, Phyllis H. Klaus, CSW, MFT, The Doula Book. (Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2002).

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If you have questions or would like to check my availability, please contact me!

Lynn Christensen, CD
(DONA), LCCE (Lamaze)
Tenafly, New Jersey