What is a Doula?

Published on 14 January 2024 at 14:19

What is a Doula?

Written by Dana Brede

I like metaphors: A doula is a lot like a cruise ship captain to a choose-your-own-adventure story. Stay with me here… They have memorized every scenario but ultimately will steer the ship best around your desired route.

They have the map of where the ship is going, they know how and when to steer the ship to avoid icebergs and they know of hidden dangers lurking under the surface. They will read and explain all your options before you choose your adventure. They encourage you to ask many questions along the way. They will support your choices and how you choose to get to shore. Doulas even know the forecast along the way because they have made the journey so many times and know these waters well. More importantly, they know the view from shore at the end of the story BUT it will take all hands on-deck to get there.

Birthing a baby, if you have never traveled those waters, can bring about a myriad of feelings and emotions, a doula is prepared and made for times such as these. A doula is a non-medical healthcare professional who provides continuous emotional, physical and educational support during pregnancy, labor/birth and postpartum. A labor companion is an advocate and helps cultivate or soften whatever the birthing environment to make for a safer and more positive birth experience—whether unmedicated or a cesarean.

A doula provides a calm voice of experience with evidence-based recommendations and suggestions for comfort, breathing, counter-pressure, techniques for relaxation, advice on labor positions and so much more.

While a doula is different than a midwife or OB/GYN and does NOT have medical training, the incorporation of a doula as an added member to your birth team has proven outcomes. Research has found that women who have continuous one-on-one coaching and support during labor tend to use less medication, have slightly shorter labors and are less like to have a cesarean, or a forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery[1].

It goes without saying that nurses are the beating heart of any health institution or establishment. They are limited, however, in their ability to provide the one-on-one support that a doula can. The doula focuses on individualized support before, during, and after birth; whereas nurses may be attending to several women in labor and responsible for many clinical and administrative tasks besides direct labor support.

At Marigold Mountain Doula Company we believe that there is a doula for everyone—a lid for every pot, so to speak. If you are pregnant or know of someone expecting, we would love to be considered to be a part of your birth support team. We pride ourselves in being a piece of a larger collective and network of doulas and if our availability doesn’t work—we want to help find you’re your lid. I told you I like metaphors.



Work Cited and Resources:




[1] The Effect of Doulas on Maternal and Birth Outcomes: A Scoping Review


Add comment


Savanna Brede
6 months ago

Beautifuly written and I love the metaphor!