Birth Doulas – An Essential Presence in Modern Maternity Care

Birth Doulas – An Essential Presence in Modern Maternity Care

By Ana Paula Markel

Photo by Ron Hamad

 In his last visit to Los Angeles, Dr. Michel Odent spoke beautifully about birth professionals having the ability to be bilingual. What an amazing concept!

Doulas are bilingual.

The role of the birthing doula gained popularity from the studies of Dr. Marshall Klaus and John Kennel, illustrating the benefits of the presence of a doula during the labor process (Klaus, Kennel, and Klaus 1993). The doula phenomenon took force from groups of mothers searching for a better experience during childbirth. One of the most sacred roles of the birth doula is to preserve the memory that the mother and her partner will have of their birthing experience.

Over the past 20 years, one birth at a time, doulas have secured themselves as an instrumental component of a family’s birth team.  They are able to provide information, education and empowerment without performing any medical tasks, in a very non-judgmental fashion.

Doulas are not only helpful for mothers planning a natural birth but also aide those investigating birth options.   There is a role for the doula during natural, medicated, and even cesarean births. In modern maternity care women often feel rushed and sometimes self-conscious to share concerns, questions or fears with medical personnel. This is one of the gaps that doulas have filled. The doula movement is about options, information and families making conscious decisions for themselves and their baby.

When you work with a doula you are engaging in a relationship with a partner in your birth experience.  Take the time to research more about doulas as well as interview and check references.  Your birth doula is an essential part of your birthing team, whether you deliver in the hospital, at a birthing center or at home.

To find a doula in your area please go to and in Los Angeles

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  2. Tanya Mack

    As a Doula, I love to hear how the idea of support for birthing Mothers and couples is catching on. Birth will impact all involved. It is the Doulas role to make those impressions of birth positive and happy memories, as far as she can help. Never think a doula is out of your financial reach… I’ve worked on payment plans, for favors, and even for free. A good doulas reward is not in a paycheck, it’s in the smiles of new mothers, and the tiny coos of a new baby.

  3. Shannon

    Thank your for writing this! Doula’s give so much of their heart serving the families. Like Tanya said, our greatest return is sharing in the birth of a family. Thanks for the cyber “pat on the back”. :)

  4. Shannon

    Ana – are you familiar with ? They have listings to help match families and doulas based on location and fees.

  5. Tracy

    I have such respect and admiration for doulas and all that they give. Some of my best experiences as a massage therapist have been working closely with a doula and the delivery of a precious baby. Now I get to massage the little one and have even taught the mother how to massage her own baby creating such a loving connection each time.

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