VIDEO: The doula difference

How birth coaches help women deliver

February 8, 2012
[Image Credit: nathansnostalgia via Flickr]

In ancient Greek, the term ‘doula’ means ‘female slave.’ Today’s definition is different, with doulas, or trained birth coaches, guiding mothers-to-be through their pregnancies.

Amadoma Bediako has worked with expecting mothers in New York City since 1979. She visits each client several times before the big day, ensuring the mother is ready to care for the baby (by checking for carbon monoxide detectors and baby-proof outlets) and reviewing each woman’s birth plan. On the day of delivery, Bediako stays with her client the entire time, comforting her and supporting her throughout the labor.

A doula-attended birth often results in shorter labors, fewer complications and healthier babies. Mothers working with doulas are also more likely to breastfeed their children, studies show.

After the baby’s birth, Bediako does a follow-up visit to make sure the mother is doing well with her child.

Bediako also teaches a free informational class to expecting parents at the East New York Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

About the Author



Amadoma Bediako says:

Thank you for choosing to highlight this important work that many people still don’t know about. I am committed to increasing the menu of choices for how families bring new life into the world. “Peace on Earth” may very well begin with birth. There are many birth workers, like myself, who want to see women remember their birth experiences as peaceful, pleasurable and empowering.

Thank you for increasing awareness of the role of a doula. Since there is still a lack of understanding of what a doula is and what she does, this presentation will help to bridge the gap and pave the way for other women to seek the services of a doula to assist and empower them in a peaceful beginning for them and their new born.

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