Doulas are professionally trained birth coaches who give mothers physical, mental and emotional support during pregnancy, labor, childbirth and sometimes the postpartum period. They are healers, educators and contributors that make the birth process and transition to parenthood easier and more comfortable.
Although they aren’t medical professionals, doulas are well-trained in the protocol for childbirth whether in a hospital, birth center, or at home. They work with expectant mothers to help develop birth plans, offer prenatal education, and teach breathing and relaxation techniques. During labor and delivery, they advocate for the mother as well as offer encouragement and physical and emotional support. They might also help educate new parents in childcare and self-care techniques, making sure the mother is staying nourished and hydrated in order to care for their newborn.
Doulas typically charge a flat fee for their services, which includes an agreed-upon number of prenatal and postpartum visits and being on-call for support during pregnancy, labor and birth. They can attain voluntary professional certification through doula training programs and nonprofit organizations and should also complete a practicum, which is hands-on experience in the field. Opportunities for doulas are expected to grow 8% by 2029, which is faster than average.