Do You Need a Doula?

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There are an array of dizzying options for how you might deliver your new baby, so how can you figure out what's right for you and your new bundle of joy? Many hospitals and birthing centers offer doulas -- a strange word that describes a birth helper. But with midwives, nurses and doctors all officiating over the blessed event, do you really need yet another person in the room? Many experts think so. A doula is a trained professional who can help make laboring shorter, reduce the need for pain medication and a more positive experience for everyone involved. Studies show they can even reduce the chance of having to have a C-section. Doulas are not medical professionals - they're not certified to deliver babies or replace nurses - but they often have medical backgrounds. In fact, doulas help take the fear out of giving birth for many moms by explaining the process and complicated medical terms.