What is a doula?

The word ‘doula’ — pronounced ‘doo-la’ — is a Greek word meaning ‘servant or caregiver’. Today, thanks to the work of Dana Raphael and the birth workers who came after her, the word has come to be understood as a person who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the birthing person, before, during and just after childbirth.


Physical Support
Position ideas for comfort and labor progression cross over with hands-on comfort measures like comforting touch, counter pressure, breathing techniques and other “doula magic” for families. A doula’s skilled hands and positioning tools can often help a malpositioned baby find its way through the pelvis and into the birthing parent’s arms.

Emotional Support
Doulas help families to feel supported, easing the emotional experience of birth and also helping to create a space where the hormones of labor can work at their best. Whether a birth is completely unmedicated or medically very complex, every family can benefit from nurturing and connection at this tender, incredible time in their lives.

Partner Support
Whether it’s a romantic partner, a friend or another family member like the baby’s grandma, the birth partner’s experience matters in birth. Our doulas are there to support every birth partner in being as involved as they’d like with the birth. Physical and emotional support make a huge difference for everyone involved.

Evidence-Based Information and Advocacy
DONA International doulas are trained to help families connect with evidence-based resources so they can ask great questions and make informed decisions about their births. Our doulas serve as a bridge of communication between the birthing person and their providers, lifting them up to help them find their voices and advocate for the very best care.

via Dona International

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