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Picture of Kalleh
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"Doula" is a word, apparently of Greek etymology, which refers to someone who is trained to assist women during labor and provides expertise and assistance after the birth. I can't really find much about the word, though. Quinion wrote a little about it, and it's in a few specialty dictionaries. Yourdictionary.com says, "[Modern Greek doula, from Greek dialectal doul, servant-woman, slave.]," and Quinion says it was used in the 1980s. It seems to be used more in the U.S. than in the U.K. It's neither in the OED nor etymology.com, and yet it has 1,360,000 Google hits. I suspect it's an up and coming word.
 
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This is like "midwife"?
 
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The Wikipedia article has links to many doula organizations.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Interesting word, Kalleh! I have overheard it a few times in others' conversation, and took it to be a snobby reference to a personal servant/ babysitter. Now I realize that the tone I picked up on belonged to the speakers, not the word!
 
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This is like "midwife"?
Sean, this is a new term that is beginning to be used, but a midwife is more professionally prepared to see patients through pregnancy and delivery. A doula, while trained, is more helpful in a personal way, such as teaching breathing exercises for labor or assisting mothers with breastfeeding. I suspect there is some overlap, though.

This was the article where I read about the word.
 
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