What a Doula IS...

The term doula is Greek for "woman who serves", and is used to refer to a trained professional that provides constant care and support for a mother-to-be. A doula goes beyond the role of friends and family in that their professional studies bring extended informational support to parents, helping to advocate for their wishes during labor. A doula's understanding of the natural birth process allows them to provide effective natural comfort techniques and dedicated support before, during and after the birth. A doula's goal is to help mothers have a safe, memorable and empowering birth experience.

What a Doula is NOT...

A doula is not a doctor, a nurse or a midwife. A doula does not provide clinical care such as examinations and checking your baby's heart tones. She does not order tests, draw blood, or provide medical treatment. Although doulas do provide you with information and knowledge about procedures and let you know what your options are during labor and birth, they do not make decisions for you or speak for you. Doulas understand that the responsibility of choices belongs to the parents. This is your birth and your baby and only you can decide what is best for you.

DONA has provided the following as the key components of a Birth Doula:

A Birth Doula...

Benefits of having a Doula

According to Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth, by Kennell, Klaus, and Kennell (1993), having a doula can give you a:

How do I find the right doula for me?

Choosing just the right person to attend your birth can be overwhelming. It is best to spend time talking with your potential doula. Learn about their education and experience, and connect with them on a personal level. Make sure your birth partner has met and feels comfortable around your doula. It is best to put together a list of questions for her to make sure she will provide for you the care and approach you are looking for. Be careful of anyone who will not be completely honest with you about things or who gives you an uneasy feeling. Any unresolved tension can inhibit your birth. Your doula should be organized, on time, responsive to calls or emails and should schedule a minimum of two prenatal appointments where she can help educate you about your birthing options and discuss the desires that you want for your birth.

How much does a doula cost?

The price of a good doula will vary, but don't think that choosing someone because you can save money will be beneficial in the grand scheme of things. In fact, more often than not, being willing to spend more will be well worth every penny.

A doula will charge what she thinks she is worth. A doula who charges only a couple of hundred dollars will probably not view herself as valuable, and thus will prove that in the services that she provides. On the other hand, a doula who values her skills will be devoted to her work. She may cost a bit more but will likely provide the very best care before, during and after your birth. On another note, feel free to discuss with your potential doula your financial situation. A caring doula will see her job as a calling to care for others, not just a job. Although it may not be possible to receive a discount from her, she will openly discuss the reasons for her rates and practices.