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What is a Doula?

The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.


Postpartum Doula

Whether you’re new parents, having twins, planning to adopt a baby or an experienced parent, a doula is just the support you need while you are recovering from birth and making adjustments during the postpartum period. A doula will walk beside you on your new journey and be there to answer your questions along the way.

History of postpartum support

Traditionally, a new mother had a community of family and friends who gathered at her home to provide her with emotional and physical support after the arrival of each child.  This special time and attention during the postpartum period allowed the new family to recover, relax, readjust and most importantly, focus on bonding with the new baby.

Today, distance and the fast pace of modern life can make it difficult for communities to give the in-home support new parents need to relax with their newborn baby.  In addition, short hospital stays and limited maternity leave can make mothers and fathers feel they are expected to quickly bounce back into their pre-baby lives.  Because of these changes and added parenting stress, the role of the postpartum doula evolved.

Postpartum Support from a Doula

Adding a new family member, whether through birth or adoption, is a time of intense change and adjustment.  A postpartum doula recognizes that and helps you and your family through the process.  Like communities of the past, a doula provides in-home care to help families ease into a daily routine at a pace that is comfortable for them. A doula enters a home with an open mind and open heart, knowing each mother and family will have their own individual needs. From family to family, day-to-day, even hour-to-hour, her role is constantly changing. She is a teacher and a source of information. The doula may be a shoulder to cry on, or a person who declares, “This is a time to celebrate!” She is the glue that helps keep every-thing together and in perspective.  At all times, the doula provides reassurance, support and the belief that the parents can and will be successful in their new roles.

Typical Postpartum Support Services from a Doula

Postpartum Doula services are personalized to the needs of each family. Doulas may come every day for a few hours, a few times a week, or just provide support on the first day home.  They can also be hired to help care for the baby at night so the new parents can rest in between late feedings. 

The goal of a doula is to empower the new mother/new parents, helping to instill a sense of confidence and self-reliance. Typical postpartum doula services include:

Physical Support 

v  Making suggestions to improve your comfort and recovery after birth.

v  Helping you learn to care for your new baby (babies), assisting with breastfeeding or bottle  feeding, bathing and diapering (an extra pair of hands!).

v  Helping you “get to know” your new baby by observing, learning & recognizing the cues they use to communicate.

v  Encouraging self-care and wellness (getting enough rest).

v  Assisting with premature, low birth weight and other unique or high needs newborn care

v Household organization, which may include laundry, tidying and light meal preparation.  

Emotional Support 

v  Listening to your needs and concerns, recognizing this is an emotional time for the whole family.

v  Coaching family members on how to recognize and nurture the present needs of the mother and each other.

v  Guidance on sibling adjustment (what's normal/what isn't, making sure the sibling feels included in the new family environment...)

v  Helping you talk through issues relating to the birth experience and unique challenges.

v  Encouraging parent-child connection.


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