Prenatal to the Cradle
Yoga & Doula Services for Prenatal, Birth, and Beyond

"If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."
~Dr. John Kennell~

What is a Doula?

The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

A Birth Doula:

  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level

Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.

A Postpartum Doula:

  • Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
  • Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
  • Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary .

    Women Supported by a doula have been shown to have: 
  • More confidence in the birth process
  • Fewer complications
  • 25% shorter labor
  • 50% reduction in the cesarean rate
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests
  • 40% reduction in oxytocin use
  • 30% reduction in analgesia use
  • 40% reduction in forceps use

Six weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas experienced:           

  • Less anxiety and depression
  • More confidence with the baby
  • More satisfaction with their partner

Long-term benefits of using a doula:

  • Improved breastfeeding
  • Increased time spent with baby
  • More positive maternal assessments of baby's personality and health, and maternal competence
  • Decreased postpartum depression

 "Mothering the Mother", by M.H. Klaus, J.H. Kennell, and P.H. Klaus; Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, New York (1993).

Doulas and Dads    

The role of the doula is never to take the place of the husband or partner in labor, but to compliment and enhance their experience. With a doula as a part of the birth team, a father can do what he feels comfortable with at each moment, and can be as active and hands on as he wants. Doulas can encourage the father to use comfort measures and can step in when needed. Having a doula allows the father to be able to support his partner emotionally during labor and birth, without the pressure that can come from recalling everything he learned in childbirth class. Doulas can reassure fathers during labor and keep them informed of the labor process as it occurs, including any deviation from the norm. This allows the father to be more present in the moment, enjoy the experience more and be more supportive to his partner. A study by Klaus and Kennel noted that: "When the doula was present with the couple during labor the father offered more personal support."

For more information on how a doula can help the father please visit:                                                                                                                        


 Doulas and Epidurals

Doulas and epidurals are not mutually exclusive.  There are times when an epidural may become appropriate during labour.  However, doulas are for all women, even those who are think that they might want to use epidural medication during labor.  What is important to understand though, is that the impact and risks of epidural are often underplayed.  A doula is a wonderful resource to become educated on the risks and benefits of epidural use before and during labour.  A doula can help you wait as long as possible before receiving and epidural analgesia and non-judgemental about your choice.  Also, having unconditional support during the administration on the epidural helps the mother remain calm and continue labouring. 

For more information on Doulas and Epidurals and common interventions please visit:

Doulas and Cesarean Births

If you have had a previous cesarean you may be interested in a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean). Studies show that VBACs are safer than repeat c-sections. For more information on VBACs please visit: 

For more information on Doulas and Cesarean Birth please visit:

For information on Doula Service Packages offered through Prenatal to the Cradle, please use the contact page or call Alexis at 386.214.3769

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