What You Need to Know About Finding a Good Doula

At a local networking event for women entrepreneurs, I met a doula named Jessica del Sol, the founder of Sol Birthing in South Florida. Iíd heard of a doula before, but I always assumed they were for expectant mothers who were adamant about having a completely natural at-home birth.

I quickly found out that my assumptions about doulas and what they do arenít necessarily true. In fact, Jessica had some very interesting insights about childbirth and how parents can go about finding a good doula.

What is a doula?

Before jumping into how to find a good doula, letís first discuss what a doula actually is and what they do. The term “doula” is actually ancient Greek and it means “a woman who serves.”

According to DONA International, the term “doula” is now used to describe †a woman who is trained to give physical, emotional and informational support to a woman during and after pregnancy. For example, they can translate the medical jargon a doctor uses, they can help you during birth and they can teach you how to properly breastfeed your child after birth.

The American Pregnancy Association cites that several studies have shown how the presence of a doula leads to easier births including less cesareans and lesser use of pain medication.

What can doulas do?

According to Jessica, a doula is far different from a midwife. A midwife helps from the waist down with the actual birth, whereas a doula can also help a mother from the waist up with the emotional side of things.

For example, it can be difficult to navigate decisions during this time. Decisions like how the mother wants to give birth and whether or not she’s going to breastfeed. Sometimes a mother also needs to make some difficult calls like when to call a midwife or go to the hospital. A doula can help a mother figure out what’s best for her and the baby.

Doulas can also help you set up when it’s time to give birth. If a mother is having an at-home water birth they can help set up the pool. If a mother is giving birth at a hospital they can help you get settled in and handle all the details so the mother can relax a little. They can also provide physical support during labor by applying pressure to certain areas to relieve pain.

Finally, doulas can help partners, too. They teach the mother’s partner how to provide physical and emotional support to the mother. Not only that, but doulas can also help partners keep their cool during the birthing process. After all, they are going through a rollercoaster of emotions as well!

While there are a number of things that can make for a good doula,†Jessica suggests that there are two things you should definitely keep in mind when searching for one.

Find a doula that specializes in at-home and hospital births.

Contrary to popular belief, you can find a doula that specializes in hospital births. In fact, Jessica suggests that even if you want an at-home birth youíll want to make sure your doula can also help should you need to go the hospital. This doesnít just mean a regular vaginal delivery in the hospital either Ė youíll want doula that can help during a C-section, a vaginal birth after C-section delivery (VBAC for short) and induction.

ďAs much as we try to plan the perfect delivery, sometimes life happens and you need to account for that,Ē says Jennifer. While giving birth may be the most natural thing in the world, complications can happen so you shouldnít throw caution to the wind.

Find a doula that respects your wishes.

I told Jennifer about my reservations regarding completely natural at-home births. I have a close friend who tried an at-home birth with her two kids and ended up in the hospital each time, so Iíve never been sold on the idea.

ďIím not having kids for a while, but when the time comes I cannot possibly imagine giving birth at home and without an epidural,Ē I said.

I was half expecting her to tell me something about how drugs are bad for the baby or quote Ricki Lakeís The Business of Being Born, but she didnít do that at all.

ďThatís great that you already know that and youíre not even having kids yet,Ē she said. ďEvery mother has the right to give birth any which way she chooses. If the mother feels itís best to be in a hospital, then thatís probably where she should be for an easier delivery.Ē

She went on to tell me how doulas are meant to support the motherís wishes and do what they can to help her, not interject their opinions. A good doula serves as an advocate for the mother and should be impartial about the entire process.

Final Thoughts

With doulas becoming more popular in the United States, itís important to choose the best one for your pregnancy. Keep these two things in mind while on your search and youíll better your chances of finding the right doula for you.


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Love our mum

Jessica K.
Jessica K3 years ago

Sounds like a great service, new mothers deserve care and comfort too. Thanks.

Kamia T.
Kamia T3 years ago

There were definitely times when I was pregnant I could have used this sort of help, for sure!

Birgit W.
Birgit W3 years ago

I have never heard about a doula. Thanks for sharing.

Debbie Williamson
Solitary Eagle3 years ago

Just learned something new!

Marianne R.
Marianne R3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Thanks for the information.

Anne Moran
Anne Moran3 years ago

No doula for me,, thank goodness...

Wesley Struebing
Wesley Struebing3 years ago

Just curious - where does the term come from?