About Birth Doulas

About Birth Doulas

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Who, What, When, Where, Why?

Conceptual Model for Continuous Labor Support (click to enlarge)

Who a doula is:  A doula is a woman (usually) who provides continuous labor support to a birthing woman and her family.  A non-professional, untrained doula could be the birthing woman's mother, sister, other relative, or friend.  A Professional Doula typically works independently from a hospital or birth center, has training and experience in supporting birthing women and their families, and may or may not hold certification through a certifying organization (more about doula certification).

What a doula does: Generally speaking, a birth doula provides emotional, informational, and physical support to the birthing woman and her partner/family.  This means providing reassurance and encouragement, non-medical options and perspective, assistance with comfort measures, and much more.   A birth doula does NOT provide clinical care or medical advice, instead she works along side your chosen medical care providers (doctor, midwife, nurse, etc.).  A Certified Birth Doula holds certification through one of many certifying organizations, and this organization determines their specific Scope of Practice and Professional Standards.

When a doula provides support: A Professional Birth Doula provides support prenatally by meeting with expectant parents before birth to discuss options & your preferences, provide information & resources, and much more.  She will be on-call to provide continuous support in early labor and throughout the birth.  Most birth doulas also visit parents after the birth as well, to support them in transitioning into parenthood (there are also Postpartum Doulas who can provide more support during this phase).

Where a doula works: Most Professional Birth Doulas are independently employed, so they provide support wherever you are.  Typically, they will attend your birth at the location you have chosen, whether this is a hospital, birth center or your home.  Most birth doulas will also provide early labor support in your home before it's time to head to the hospital or birth center, if you choose.  Prenatal and postpartum visits are also done in the comfort and convenience of your home.

Why hire a doula: There have been numerous studies to show that the presence of a birth doula leads to parents feeling more confident and satisfied with the birth experience, shorter labors and increased mobility because of supportive positioning reminders and relaxation guidance, and better infant outcomes due to lower intervention and cesarean rates.  Professional Birth Doulas provide unconditional and unbiased support for women from all walks of life, with a variety of preferences about their birth experience, and it is their role to support you in the birth you want to have!

Other benefits of doula support include:

  • approaching your birth with increased confidence because of the informative prenatal visits you'll have with your doula
  • feeling empowered to make the best choices for you and your family because of the unbiased information provided by your doula
  • being prepared to accomplish your specific goals because of the experienced support you'll have right by your side
  • Peace-of-Mind knowing you'll have extra support if anything unexpected happens during labor because your doula is there just for you

Attend our Free Prenatal Class: Doulas and Danishes to learn more!

Doulas at Inspired:

  • Certified Professional Doulas
  • Student Doulas
  • Pregnancy and Infant Loss Doulas

Other Doula Topics:

  • About Doula Certification
  • About Types of Doulas