doul-, dulo-, dul-
(Greek: slave, servile, slavish; servitude; serving)
doula [DOO luh]: A modern version of the Greek word for a slave or servant is now defined as a woman who is experienced in childbirth and who provides physical, emotional and informational assistance and support to a mother before, during, and/or after childbirth. [As seen in Encarta World English Dictionary; St. Martin's Press] .
A doula supports a woman and her family in achieving the kind of birth that they desire. A doula works in homes, hospitals, and birth centers; and gives, emotional, physical, and informational support. A careprovider, be he/she a midwife, OB/gyn, or family practitioner, will take care of a woman's prenatal care and birth. A doula is supposed to ensure that someone is always available to look after the mother-to-be emotionally. These objectives are facilitated by communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and her clinical care providers.
As a supportive companion (other than a friend or loved one) a doula is professionally trained to provide birth-labor support. She performs no clinical tasks. A doula also refers to lay women who are trained or experienced in providing postpartum care—mother and newborn care, breastfeeding support and advice, cooking, child care, errands, and light cleaning—for the family. To distinguish between the two types of doulas, one may refer to "birth doulas" and "postpartum doulas".
2. In ancient Greece, an enslaved person kept in or associated with a temple; especially, as a prostitute.
3. A slave serving in an ancient temple, as in Greece or Anatolia, in the service of a specific deity.
4. A slave (of either sex) dwelling in a temple, and dedicated to the service of a god.