The word Doula comes from the Greek and literally means a female slave or servant. Not really wonderful for women’s lib but the modern use of the word encompasses something very empowered.
Doulas provide emotional, physical and information based support. These are people, usually women, who help a new mother or mother to be, through childbirth and/or postpartum by acting as an encouraging, affirming and supportive facilitator.
These people are usually well trained in the biological and emotional process of childbirth and the postpartum transition. Basing their care off of the mother’s needs and desires as well as using previous training and experience to best care for the woman and her family.