What does a Doula do? 

Find out how a Doula can be an asset to your birth team with this evidence based article! 

What does a Doula do?

Doula [Doo-la] is a Greek word for a woman that serves. 

In regards to birth, a Birth Doula is a person (usually a woman) that attends the birth of their client. The client hires the Doula to provide Emotional, Physical, and Informational support to themselves and their partner during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and immediately after the birth. Throughout human history people in labor have been attended by the women around them, but it’s only in modern times that we have fallen away from this practice for various reasons. According to research* it’s been proven that when people in labor receive continuous support from a Doula, they have a: 

50% reduction in cesarean rates 

60% reduction in epidural requests 

40% reduction in the use of pitocin 

25% shorter labor 

30% reduction in the use of analgesics 

40% reduction in the use of forceps 

Reported increased maternal satisfaction with their overall birth experience 

*Mothering the Mother, Klaus, Kennell, & Klaus 1993

Let’s explore why: 

As a Birth Doula:

A Birth Doula tends to their clients’ needs throughout labor, offering continuous support. In modern medical settings this is often missed because Doctors, Midwives, and Nurses are busy tending to other patients, and are rarely in the room with the laboring person until it’s time to deliver. As the Doula, I am there throughout the process, making sure the person in labor is supported, and is able to explain things to them and their partner whenever they have a question. I empower my clients to make informed decisions, I provide a copy of the agreed upon birth preferences, and I support their decisions, no matter if I would have made the same choices myself. I have been trained in comfort techniques, such as massage, counter pressure, movements, specialized breathing techniques, and poses that help a laboring person cope with the intensity of childbirth. I am prepared with tools, supplies, and strategies to aid relaxation that the laboring person can use. I also educate and empower the partner to be actively involved in helping the laboring person at whatever level they are comfortable; I do not replace the birth partner, rather we work together as a team! After the birth, I stay for an hour or two to give breastfeeding/chestfeeding support, to promote bonding, and to make sure everyone is doing ok. 

It doesn't matter if it's your first birth, or your sixth, at the hospital or at home, a vaginal birth or a cesarean delivery! A Doula will make an amazing difference!

Please note that having a Doula does not mean you will have a pain-free birth, rather the Doula helps you manage the intensity of childbirth. 

As a Postpartum Doula:

A Postpartum Doula is a Doula that comes to the clients home after they have had a baby. I support the new parents and the immediate members of the household, like siblings, or live-in grandparents. I am experienced in newborn care, and I am trained to help the new family adjust to life with a baby. I listen to the new parents, and discern what they need from me during that session. I teach them the skills they will need to care for their infant, build their confidence, and I make sure that their emotional needs are also being met. I tend to the physical needs of the parent recovering from birth, offer breastfeeding/chestfeeding support, help around the house (as needed), and help prepare food (as needed) to alleviate stress and anxiety. As the Doula, I help siblings feel special, included, and I help support their transition to becoming an older child. I can provide the new family with referrals to local resources if needed, and I can help them figure out how to function in day-to-day life with a new baby. 

As a Doula that is a Certified Young Parent Support Specialist:

As a Young Parent Support Specialist, I not only utilize my traditional Doula skills, but I have additionally been trained to understand the unique needs of teens and adolescents who are experiencing pregnancy. It's so important that everyone feels supported and encouraged. Welcoming a new baby has added challenges for young parents and I'm ready to support them no matter what their personal situation looks like. 

The Doula reserves the right to add extra sessions to a Birth Doula service package if I feel that extra support, due to circumstances, is warranted. This will be discussed as needed with the expectant parents (and their guardians if the new parents are minors). 

As a Doula that is Certified in Trauma-Informed Care:

I recognize that nearly everyone has been effected by a past trauma in some capacity, and I understand how our past traumas directly effect our lives. No matter if your trauma is birth related, or non-birth related, your birth experience may be impacted by a past trauma. Please note that I am not a mental health professional, but I do have specialized training to help prepare you for birth and parenthood in ways to mitigate further trauma and help you cope with fears surrounding labor and birth. Please know that I have very high confidentiality standards and that I am here to listen in a non-judgmental way, validate your feelings and experiences, and support you to the best of my abilities. 

The Doula may elect to add sessions to a Birth Doula service package if I feel that extra support due to trauma is warranted. This will be discussed as needed with the client. 

As a Doula that is Certified for Loss and Bereavement:

No outcome is ever guranteed, and sometimes the unthinkable happens. I have been specially trained to understand the loss of a loved one, and I am prepared to offer my services to aid your family as they process and cope with a loss. Please note that I am not a mental health professional, nor a grief counselor, and I cannot replace a qualified therapist, however, I do have tools that can help as you acclimate to life after experiencing the passing of a child or partner. I do extend this service to miscarriages and stillbirths as well; please message me if you have experienced this type of loss and need support.  

As a Doula that is a Certified Placenta Specialist:

The placenta is an amazing organ; it is the connection that literally bonds a baby to their parent and nurtures them while in the womb. 

On the technical side:

I have undergone specialized training to understand how the placenta works and how it interacts with the hormones in the body. I understand the intricate medical side of what is happening with the placenta. 

On the side of reverence, honoring, and art:

Throughout history humans have chosen to honor their baby's placenta in many different ways. Whether it is for personal or cultural reasons, I can assist with honoring your placenta in a special way. There is a variety of options available to people who wish to honor their placenta, please message me and we can find an option that would be special for your family! 

Please note that I do not offer placental encapsulation services, but I can guide you through the process, or I can connect you with someone who does encapsulate, if this is something that interests you.

As a Doula that is Certified for Understanding Developmental Disabilities:

There are times when a family gets the news that their baby has been diagnosed with a disability. This can happen either before birth during routine screening, or after birth once the baby is home. This unexpected news can mean several adjustments for a family, both physical and emotional.  I have been trained on how to support a family that has received a diagnosis for their child.

Message me here if you are interested in giving the gift of a Doula to someone in your life who is expecting a new baby.

Birth services, Postpartum Services, or Classes are a great way to show love and support to new parents!