Should I Get a Doula?

birth doula

A labor doula comes to your home when your contractions begin, and stays by your side, taking care of all of your non-medical needs until your baby is born and you feel comfortable letting her go.

Should you get a doula? Absolutely!

Here’s why:

  • A doula will wipe your forehead with a cool cloth when you are overheated.
  • She will hold the cup and straw for you when you can’t hold it for yourself.
  • She will help you find the rhythm of your labor by finding positions that work specifically for you.
  • She will massage your shoulders, hips, feet, or wherever you need her help
  • She will give your partner a break when he or she needs one.
  • She’ll run and get coffee if your partner wants some but doesn’t want to leave your side.
  • She’ll sit with you in the back seat and help with your contractions while your partner drives you to the hospital, or
  • She’ll help you blow up your birth pool if you are having a homebirth.
  • She’ll come to your house when your labor starts and stay until your baby is born, even if that means she’s by your side for two days straight. Doctors and nurses have shift change, but your doula will not leave.
  • She can help you through contractions when your partner needs to go to the bathroom or if it’s a long labor, when he/she needs to get some sleep.
  • She’ll help you while he looks for parking, or signs you into the hospital.
  • If you’re home, she’ll cook you dinner afterward!
  • She can help translate some of what the doctors are saying, and gently advocate for you, even if it’s just to find extra pillows (always a necessity).

Many pregnant moms say that they don’t want a doula because their partner in life wants to be their birth partner. To that I say, wonderful! But get a doula anyway!

  • Your doula doesn’t love you and won’t be worried or upset when your labor gets very intense. This will help her to help you, by helping everyone stay calm.
  • She will not push your partner out of the way, but help to find more ways for him or her to connect to you. You are a team!

If none of my bulleted points have convinced you yet to hire a doula, consider this:

  • A study conducted by researchers at The University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and published in The Journal of Managed Care, reported that having a constant helping presence at a birth lowered C-section rates by 60%!

Finally, a word about cost. A seasoned doula can be expensive. I’ve heard of very popular doulas charging up to $3,000 for their services in big cities, especially if they are also massage therapists, acupuncturists, or just in demand. Sadly, this is often a reason women forgo hiring a one. Please know, not all doulas are expensive. Doulas just starting out will often charge from $200 – $500, and it may be possible to find one for even less. Your doula doesn’t need to be an expert, you just need to like her and be able to imagine her taking care of you, because that she will!


To find a doula near you, visit DONA.org.

Are you thinking of hiring a doula? Why or why not?