What is a birth doula?

A doula is a trained to draw on both knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort, and communication with care providers and staff to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labor. A doula creates a space of safety and security so that a mother can tune into her body to let the birthing process take over. 

What are the benefits of having a birth doula?

Studies have shown that doulas impact the birth experience positively. Overall, women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have: 

  • Epidural or other pain medication. 
  • Negative feelings about childbirth. 
  • Vacuum or forceps-assisted births. 
  • Birth by Cesarean. 

A birth doula provides:

  • Understanding that birth is a key experience the mother will remember all her life.
  • Reassurance and perspective to you and your partner.
  • Suggestions for labor progress.
  • Help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort. 

A birth doula does not:

  • Perform clinical tasks such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams.
  • Deliver your baby.  
  • Make decisions for you.
  • Take over the roll of your partner.
  • Speak to the staff instead of you regarding matters where decisions are being made.
  • Allow their personal values or biases get in the way of caring for you.


What is a postpartum doula?

What a postpartum doula does changes from day to day, as the needs of the family change.  Postpartum doulas do whatever a mother needs or the family needs to best enjoy and care for the new baby. A large part of their role is education. They share information about baby care with parents, as well as teach siblings and partners to “mother the mother.” Additionally, they assist with breastfeeding education as well as place attention to the mother's recovery.   

How do postpartum doulas work with a mother’s partner?

A postpartum doula respects the partner’s role and input, and teaches concrete skills that will help the partner nurture the baby and mother. The postpartum doula will share evidence-based information with the partner that shows how his or her role in the early weeks will have a dramatic positive effect on the family.