The Doula Network

What is a Doula?

A doula is a professional who provides emotional, physical and informational support to a woman who is pregnant, in labor or who has recently given birth. The doula’s role is to help women have a safe, satisfying and empowering birthing and postpartum experience.

Birth Doulas

Birth doulas are trained and experienced labor support professionals who attend to the emotional and physical comfort needs of birthing women and their partners. They meet with the expectant family prenatally to explore birth options and learn what is important to them. In labor, they draw upon their skills using a variety of techniques including, but not limited to, massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, positioning suggestions, and relaxation cues to help labor progress as well as possible. They do not replace the partner or other family, but instead seek to guide them to be as supportive as possible during the birth. A birth doula joins a laboring woman either at her home or in the hospital or birth center and remains with her until a few hours after the birth, offering a continuity of care that is not often offered by the clinical birth attendants. Birth doulas follow up with their clients in the postpartum period to ensure that they make a smooth transition as a newly enlarged family.

Postpartum Doulas

Postpartum doulas are professionally trained women hired to support the family after birth, usually in their home. They offer education and non-judgmental support during the vital fourth trimester. Postpartum doulas are skilled at offering evidence-based information and support for breastfeeding, emotional and physical recovery from childbirth, infant soothing, mother-baby bonding, and coping skills for new parents. They may also help with light housework, coordinate freshly-made nutritious meals for the family, and help incorporate older siblings into the new family dynamic. Postpartum doulas may also provide antenatal care in circumstances where a pregnant mother needs informational and/or pragmatic support before the birth.

Please contact each birth or postpartum doula individually about her training, experience and certification.