What is a Doula?


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Birth Doulas

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  • Provide a wide range of caring, non-clinical and highly beneficial techniques including physical comfort measures and emotional support before, during and after the birth.
  • Understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.
  • Access helpful information for the expectant, laboring and postpartum parent/s to assist in their decision-making.
  • Work in cooperation with physicians, midwives, nurses, and the partners and families of laboring and postpartum women.
  • Facilitate communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical care providers.
  • Vary in experience, training, services, and personality. There are certifications for doulas; however, many very experienced doulas are not certified.
  • Recognize that childbirth is a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life. Thus, doulas help nurture and protect the woman’s memory of her birth experience.
  • Provide support and care for adoptive parents in the first few weeks of their new family member’s arrival.

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Postpartum Doulas

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  • Provide care and emotional support for the mother after the birth.
  • Nurture the mother so she feels empowered in her ability to care for her newborn.
  • Assist in the daily routine at home; help with nursery and household organization with a new baby.
  • Listen without judgement.
  • Trained to recognize postpartum depression early on and to make appropriate referrals.
  • Educate, support, and assist with breastfeeding and refer when needed.
  • Offer practical household help such as tidying, laundry, dishwashing and simple meal preparation.
  • Run errands and/or accompany mothers/fathers to doctor visits, sibling classes or stores.
  • Help with sibling adjustment.
  • Guide parent/s with newborn caretaking and soothing skills.
  • Provide support for adoptive parents.
  • Postpartum doula services make a wonderful gift for the new mom.

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Focusing on You

Many people think that birth doulas only promote or only attend non-medicated, intervention-free births. Studies show that doula support does help women have fewer interventions, but every woman deserves a doula. Whatever you choose, it’s your birth!

A doula’s focus is on you. Midwives and doctors care for you as a clinician, they come and go in a birth as they attend to multiple birthing women at once. Nurses change shifts and are not a constant presence at a birth and you don’t have the benefit of getting to know one another prior to your labor beginning. DoRI doulas work for their clients, not a facility or a provider. Our concentration is on the families we support, emotionally, physically and without judgement.

A doula’s presence enhances the birth experience, encircling the birthing mother and any others she invites into her birth with nurturing support. Wherever your labor leads you, whatever path your birth takes, a doula can provide comfort, guidance, encouragement, options and experienced support.

This Cochrane systematic review, Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth, concludes that overall, women who received continuous support were less likely than women who did not to:

  • have regional analgesia
  • have any analgesia/anesthesia
  • give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
  • give birth by cesarean
  • have a baby with a low 5-minute Apgar score
  • report dissatisfaction or a negative rating of their experience.

Women receiving continuous support were more likely than those who did not to:

  • give birth spontaneously (with neither cesarean nor vacuum extraction nor forceps)
  • have a shorter labor

Postpartum doulas offer support after birth and into the “fourth trimester”. The transition into parenthood can be be overwhelming for a new couple.
Postpartum doulas are trained in emotional support, active listening and encouraging new parents to follow their own hearts.
With a postpartum doula, you’ll receive:

Evidence based information and support
Practical support to care for yourself, your partner and your new baby
Partner and sibling support

All families benefit with a postpartum doula on their team!

Supporting the Partner

Doulas and dads or partners can make a wonderful team during labor and in the postpartum period. Partners need support, too, and the doula is a positive source of guidance, encouragement and information.

Doulas work in as many situations as there are family types and there’s truly a doula who is the best fit for you and your family. At DoRI, we encourage you to meet many doulas who provide birth and postpartum services. You’ll certainly meet ones who you feel most at ease and comfortable with. We all know one another and are happy when a family finds the perfect doula for them.

Doulas are not there to replace a father, mother, partner or grandmother or anyone else a mom invites into her birth. We are there to enhance both the birth and postpartum experience for everyone. Dads and partners are freed to support moms how they know best instead of being propelled into the role of main coach and supporter when often, they themselves have no or limited experience with birth or babies.

Doulas provide nurturing, non-judgmental, calming support returning to the age-old tradition of women supporting one another during birth and postpartum. The care of a professional doula allows Dads and partners to participate and relax into the birth and new baby time feeling supported themselves.