Why Hire A Doula?

“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”

John Kennel

Doula (pronounced doo-lah) is a Greek word meaning “women’s servant.” A labor or birth doula is a formally or informally trained support individual who provides a range of support to those who are pregnant, birthing, and postpartum and focuses on them with continuous one-on-one attention during labor.

Doulas have been around in one form or another since the dawn of humankind (even some non-human mammal species have been observed laboring with “birth attendants”). This article adeptly details the history of birth attendant work.

Some birth/labor doulas may choose to refer to themselves as a labor companion, labor support specialist, birth professional, birth/labor assistants, birth coach, birth consultant, or birth keeper.

What I Do Before Birth

  • share resources & information pertaining to you
  • help you formulate your unique Birth Plan
  • assist with questions you may not feel comfortable immediately asking your care provider
  • make referrals to local pregnancy-related resources as needed
  • connect personally with you as a comrade through this journey
  • visit with you during a scheduled prenatal meeting
  • remain on-call 24/7 from 38 weeks of pregnancy onward

What I Do During Birth

Physical Support

  • provide comfort with pain-management techniques of your preference (massage, counter-pressure, etc)
  • assist with water therapy
  • apply hot/cold sensations
  • ensure you are nourished by giving food & drink
  • maintain the birth environment
  • birth pool set-up/clean up
  • suggestions for physical support, in case of virtual services

Emotional Support

  • reassurance
  • praise
  • company
  • encouragement
  • mirroring
  • help you keep perspective
  • …and work through fears & doubts

Informational Support

  • give early labor support via phone (or throughout, in case of virtual services)
  • give reminders to eat & use the bathroom
  • time contractions if desired
  • explain medical procedures & options (not medical advice)
  • suggest beneficial laboring positions (important even with an epidural)
  • …movement ideas
  • …breathing & relaxation

Partner Support

  • assist partner by giving them a break without leaving you unsupported
  • help partner interpret labor progress
  • take non-professional photos as situation allows


  • support without judgment
  • hold space; your agenda is my agenda!
  • facilitate communication between parents & birth team
  • amplify your voice if it isn’t being fairly recognized
  • empower you to ask questions & verbalize your position
  • serve as a witness, providing peace of mind
  • stay aware of intended procedures so parents have opportunity to give informed consent
  • provide a record of events during labor

What I Do After Birth

  • assist with beginning breastfeeding, if needed
  • help explain birth place procedures
  • help you get settled in your recovery room, if at the hospital
  • visit with you during a scheduled postpartum meeting
  • debrief the birth experience with empathy
  • discuss risk factors and/or any concerning symptoms of postpartum mood disorders (100% shame-free; I’ve been there myself)

What I Do NOT Do

  • perform clinical tasks (vaginal exams, fetal heart monitoring, etc.)
  • give medical advice or make diagnoses/prescriptions
  • make decisions for you
  • speak to birth staff on your behalf
  • impose personal preferences upon you
  • usurp the role of your partner (if applicable)
  • attend intentional free-birth (planned unassisted)
  • predict or guarantee any aspects of your birth
  • bear responsibility for your birth’s outcome
  • drive you (client) to the birth location
  • catch your baby
  • in case of virtual services, I do not physically meet you in labor at any point

As a doula, I do not provide medical care and cannot take the place of a midwife, obstetrician, or other clinical worker at a birth. However, I’m knowledgeable about an expansive number of medical aspects that may arise in childbirth, giving you a better shot at making informed decisions.

What The Stats Say

Via Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN, Evidence Based Birth

Partner’s Role in Birth

“My husband (partner) is my left hand and my doula is my right.”

Doulas Making a Difference

“In one landmark study that evaluated the effects of doulas and fathers working together, researchers found that combining a supportive partner and a doula significantly lowered the mother’s risk of Cesarean compared to just having a supportive partner alone. In 2008, McGrath and Kennell randomly assigned 420 first-time mothers to have routine care (including a supportive partner) or care that also included a professional doula whom they met for the first time during labor. […]

The results showed a substantial improvement in outcomes for women who had both a birth partner and a doula, compared to having a birth partner alone. The Cesarean rate for these first-time mothers was 25% in the group with a partner only, and 13.4% in the group with a partner and doula.” – Evidence Based Birth

Doula shoot-17-X2 copy


Additional Resources

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