Everything You Need to Know About Doulas

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If you’re expecting a baby any time soon, you may be apprehensive about the birthing process. Imagine if there was someone with you throughout it who could help calm and relax you all while helping you navigate the health system surrounding your childbirth. That’s exactly what doulas are for. They work with a mother and her birth partner to help make the birth and postpartum experience more soothing, empowering and helpful.

What is a doula?

According to DONA International, the largest doula certifying organization, a doula is “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.”

Doulas are required to receive training on the birthing process and complete a certification program. Training programs can vary however, so it’s important to ask about the kind of training, curriculum and certification a doula has received prior to hiring one. It’s also essential to make sure you agree with their philosophy and beliefs on birthing so they align with yours.

Choosing the right doula for you is a process. Take the time to do research and find someone who you really trust and feel comfortable with. The doula you choose should know the birth process well so they can answer your questions and concerns in the ways that you need. Usually, the doula and mother relationship starts months before the baby is due so that there is time for the two to get to know each other and create a birth plan together.

Types of Doulas

There are three different kinds of doulas: labor doulas, antepartum (before birth) doulas, and postpartum (afterbirth) doulas.

Labor doulas assist women in labor during the birth process. They are also referred to as labor companions, labor assistants, labor support specialists, or birth assistants.

Antepartum doulas assist women who have been put on bedrest or are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. They may help with household tasks and childcare. During more difficult times, doulas provide emotional support.

Postpartum doulas assist women in the first weeks after giving birth. They provide informational support on how to feed and care for the baby, and provide emotional support during moments when a new mother may feel overwhelmed. They also may help with household tasks.


Doulas have a variety of responsibilities and services that they can provide before, during, and after childbirth. But it’s important to remember that none of these services are medical. Doulas aren’t medical professionals and should never perform clinical tasks, administer medication, or sway a woman’s opinion on medical procedures.

Before childbirth: Doulas help mothers by creating a birth plan with them and providing information about labor and delivery. They may teach a new mother breathing and relaxation techniques.

During childbirth: Doulas remain close to the mother during labor and delivery, providing comfort through massage, touch, labor positioning and breathing and relaxation techniques. An article outlining the ins and outs of pregnancy massage by Lubna Sheikh outlines how essential massage can be to reducing stress levels in pregnant mothers. Doulas also reassure and encourage participation from partners in the room. During childbirth doulas act as the mother’s health advocate, helping and encouraging the communication of the mother’s preferences to medical staff.

After childbirth: Doulas may teach mothers about newborn care and how to breastfeed. They provide support and encouragement to both parents and teach family members how to care for the baby and help the mother. They can also help with household tasks and support siblings of the new baby.

Benefits of having a doula

Doulas offer unique support to mothers and their birth partners in many ways. They don’t replace medical attention or the role of the birth partner. Instead, they provide another level of physical, emotional and partner support, as well as evidence-based information and advocacy throughout the birth process.

Numerous studies have shown that women who use doulas are more likely to have positive childbirth experiences. They also are less likely to use pain medication, are less likely to have C-sections, and are more likely to have shorter labors.

Doulas can help in both medicated and unmedicated births, as well as cesareans. They exist to provide direct support to the mother and her birth partner to serve their needs throughout the birth process.

Find a doula near me.


  1. https://www.allnursingschools.com/articles/doula/
  2. https://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/having-a-doula/
  3. https://www.dona.org/what-is-a-doula/benefits-of-a-doula/
  4. https://parenting.nytimes.com/pregnancy/doula-birth
  5. https://www.webmd.com/baby/what-is-a-doula#1-5

Kristen Luft is a digital marketer working on health-centered blog posts for Wellistic. When she's not writing, you can find her reading, snuggling her greyhound or chihuahua, or following the latest trends on Instagram.

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