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Doulas are professionals, generally not medically trained, who provide physical and emotional support to women throughout the childbirth process. There is some tension between doulas and medical professionals, when doulas opt to give contradictory medical advice. Despite this, there is some research showing that women who opt for doulas have improved outcomes associated with their pregnancy, such as a reduction in chance of needing a caesarean section, less need for pain medication, and more success breastfeeding.
As of 2016, doulas are not regulated by the government. There are private certifications available, some of which prohibit contradicting advice of medical staff, and some which do not. As such, there is some controversy among doulas regarding certification.
Opinion Piece on Slate.com in favor of regulating Doulas
WebMD article about doulas.
Wall Street Journal article about the conflicts between doulas and medical staff.
- About page for DONA International, a doula certification organization