If you’re expecting, you’ve probably heard people tossing around the word “doula” a lot. And you might be wondering, what is a doula? Is this something I really need in my life?

Well, if you want an experienced person you trust on hand to support you through labor and childbirth…. Someone who’ll walk with you through contractions, supply you with all kinds of valuable pregnancy information, and be there to offer you physical and much-need emotional support…

Then yeah, you might need a doula. 

Read on to learn what a doula does and how she can be your go-to-emotional support system to help you have a more positive birth experience.


What Is A Doula?

A birth or labor doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical and informational support to moms before, during, and just after childbirth.

There are also antepartum and postpartum doulas who can provide support for the weeks before or after birth.

A doula can be a valuable member of your birth team, and having one is definitely worth considering.

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves”.


A doula’s sole purpose is to be there for YOU and provide support during labor, delivery and just after birth.


Doula services don’t include anything medical, instead they focus on your physical and emotional well-being. They’re the person you can call when you’re having weird pregnancy symptoms or just have questions.

If you want to know what is a doula? The answer is she could be your new BFF during childbirth! Just ask a friend who’s used one.


I Already Have A Doctor, Why Would I Need A Doula Too?  

A birth doula can be a positive addition to your medical team. While the doc and nurses are focusing on your clinical care and safety, your doula is focusing on your emotional state.

A doula is your advocate, she can provide advice, support, and positioning and comfort measures to help reduce your stress during labor.

She can also help you create and carry out your birth plan, whether that plan includes a medicated, cesarean, or natural childbirth.  


What About My Partner?

Isn’t my partner or spouse supposed to be my emotional support during the birth of our child? 

Ask any doula and she’ll tell you; her role is not to take the place of your partner, but to compliment it. Plus, let’s face it… your partner might be as stressed out and anxious as you are!

What is a doula? It’s someone in the room that is calm, cool, and collected. Trust us, she’s seen it all before! 

A doula can provide support and answer questions for both you AND your partner. This leaves him free to enjoy the experience of childbirth without having to remember random things he learned in a class.

A doula can also help coach your guy in stress reduction and massage techniques to make him more hands-on helpful, rather than just standing on the sidelines.

what is a doula
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Will Having A Doula Improve My Childbirth Experience?  

It most certainly can! Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth can decrease your labor time.

If that weren’t enough of an incentive, the additional benefits of a doula include a lower rate of C-sections, less use of epidurals and other interventions, and a more satisfactory birth experience.


What Types Of Doulas Are There?  

There Three Main Kinds:
  • Birth Doula or Labor Doula – The most common type of doula who assists a mother in preparing for and carrying out her birth plan. She stays with you throughout labor and delivery.
  • Antepartum Doula – Provides support to a mother (before birth) that has been put on bed rest or has a high-risk pregnancy.
  • Postpartum Doula – Provides support to a mom in the first few weeks after birth. These doulas help with your physical recovery from birth, and they provide emotional and informational support in the care and feeding of your baby.


How Do I Find A Doula?  

Your hospital or birth center might offer a doula program, so you may want to start there.

You can also check the DONA International website to find a DONA-certified doula in your area, or ask your doctor or friends for a recommendation of a doula they have worked with in the past.

Bottom line, this person is going to be your coach and advocate during a very intimate and important event in your life, so you want someone you feel comfortable with.

If you decide to hire a doula, take time to interview as many as it takes to find one that is a good match. The Doula Book is a great resource to get you started.


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