Stressed over Labor & Delivery? Doulas Are Your Personal Childbirth Advocate

Whether you’re having your first baby or your third, a doula is like having a personal cheerleader by your side. They provide you and your partner emotional and physical support before, during, and even after delivery.

The Advocate

A doula is a professional trained in childbirth whose goal is to provide you and your partner a healthy and satisfying childbirth experience. They support you in the choices you make about labor, delivery, birth plans, and more. They are in your corner and will advocate for you and the choices you have made in your birth plan. However, doulas are not medical professionals and can’t perform medical exams, diagnose conditions, or deliver babies.

Doula Duties

A trained doula will:

  • Educate you and your partner on everything from prenatal nutrition to birthing techniques.
  • Assist in creating a birth plan that supports your wishes.
  • Advocate for you and your partner and help keep communication lines open between you and your doctor.
  • Be present throughout the whole birthing process, literally holding your hand every step of the way if you need it.
  • Empower you by guiding and talking through any emotional fears and concerns you may have before birth or while in labor and delivery.
  • Provide an optimal space to feel safe, secure, and peaceful by integrating the things that bring you a sense of calm.
  • Inform you of labor techniques and birthing choices, without pushing their own agenda or passing judgment about your birthing choice. Whatever your plan is, they are in your corner, 100%.
  • Be knowledgeable about birthing positions, breathing techniques, and pain management without medications. They’ll also help with visualization, massages, meditation, foot and back rubs – whatever is needed. In addition, if you want pain medication, no finger pointing. They’ll communicate your wishes to your doctor.
  • Be present at all times throughout your C-section procedure. They will let you know what is going on, step-by-step.
  • Help you with breastfeeding after delivery.

Doula Relationship

Even though you probably won’t see your doula early in the pregnancy, it’s a good idea to hire one as early as possible. This will allow you to bond with them before the big day arrives. Most doulas will begin to see you a few months before your baby is due. This is a good time to go over any concerns you have, discuss your birthing plan, and build a trusting relationship so your doula can effectively provide the support and encouragement that is meaningful and unique to your needs. As the due date approaches, most doulas will be on call.

A Perfect Match

It’s critical that you find a good match. Your doula will be by your side during some nitty gritty and emotionally charged times, so make sure your personalities click. Ask your doctor or friends for recommendations. You can also find certified doulas at DONA International or Childbirth International. After reading references, consider asking these questions during the interview:

  • How many births have they attended, and what are their philosophies about childbirth?
  • What specific services do they provide? How many visits will you have before the big day?
  • What kind of labor support tools do they use to help with pain management
  • How will you communicate with your doula? Phone, email, texting?
  • How much do they charge for their services? Do they offer postpartum care?
  • Do they provide a back-up doula, in the event they can’t be with you?
  • Why did they choose to be a doula and how long have they been a doula?


Insurance companies rarely pay for doulas. The cost of a doula varies depending on your location. Larger cities like Chicago may charge up to $3,500, whereas a rural area may only charge $500. If you’re strapped for cash, you may be able to connect with a qualified doula-in-training. The cost may be minimal or free, as doulas wishing to be certified must attend a specific amount of births in order to obtain certification.

Would you consider hiring a doula for this pregnancy? Share your thoughts with us!

Tags : pregnancy   birth   doula   

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