... understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a person in labor

... assists parents-to-be in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth

... stays by the side of the laboring person throughout the entire labor

... provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance to

    the parents in getting all the information they need to make the decisions that align with their values

... facilitates communication between the laboring person, their partner and clinical care providers

... perceives their role as one who nurtures and protects the birthing person's memory of their birth experience.

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.

- DONA International

The Greek word doula means woman caregiver. We now use the word to describe

a trained and experienced labor companion who provides the pregnant/laboring person and their partner continuous emotional support, physical comfort and assistance in obtaining information before, during and just after childbirth.

A birth doula...

... recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life

What do birth doulas offer?

Physical Support

Position ideas for comfort and labor progression cross over with hands-on comfort measures like comforting touch, counter pressure, breathing techniques and more for families. A doula’s skilled hands and positioning tools can often help a malpositioned baby find its way through the pelvis and into the birthing parent’s arms.

Emotional Support

Doulas help families to feel supported, easing the emotional experience of birth and also helping to create a space where the hormones of labor can work at their best. Whether a birth is completely unmedicated or medically very complex, every family can benefit from nurturing and connection at this tender, incredible time in their lives.

Partner Support

Whether it’s a romantic partner, a friend or another family member like the baby’s grandma, the birth partner’s experience matters in birth. Doulas are there to support every birth partner in being as involved as they’d like with the birth. Physical and emotional support make a huge difference for everyone involved.

Evidence-Based Information and Advocacy

Doulas are trained to help families connect with evidence-based resources so they can ask great questions and make informed decisions about their births based on what they value. Doulas serve as a bridge of communication between women and their providers, lifting them up to help them find their voices and advocate for the very best care.

What are some of the benefits of hiring a doula?

The acceptance of doulas in maternity care is growing rapidly with the recognition of their important contribution to the improved physical outcomes and emotional well-being of parents and infants. Whether it’s a family’s first baby or their tenth, countless scientific trials examining doula care demonstrate remarkably positive impacts on the well-being of the entire family, particularly with improved physical and psychological outcomes for both mother and baby.

Clinical Benefits

Emotional Support

Physical Support

For more information, please visit the DONA International website at www.dona.org

REDUCED USE

of Pitocin

FEWER REQUESTS

for pain meds

LESS LIKELY

to need forceps and vacuum

REDUCED

likelihood of cesarean birth

BETTER

APGAR

SCORES 

for baby

GREATER SATISFACTION with the overall birth experience

MORE POSITIVE 

long term memories

DECREASED

anxiety

INCREASED

confidence

BOOSTED

self-esteem

IMPROVED

postpartum mental health

FAMILY BONDING

AND SUPPORT

for partners and siblings

INCREASED

movement

IMPROVED

relaxation

COMFORT

and reassurance

LACTATION

support