The word "doula" comes from a Greek word meaning "a woman who serves". She is a trained professional hired to attend to the laboring woman. She nurtures and comforts the mother; she supplies knowledge and skills to make childbirth a pleasant and positive experience. A doula understands that the birth of a child is something that a woman will remember her entire life. Making it an experience that brings a smile to a mother's face years down the road is what a doula strives for.
The doula's role is not of a medical nature; she does no clinical assessments and makes no decisions about medical care. However, she understands the physiology of birth, is well versed in obstetrical procedures, and can provide information to help families make informed choices that suit their needs.