Doulas DO:

  • Provide emotional support, physical comfort, and unbiased information as requested
  • Support families in a non-judgmental way
  • Support ALL types of births (induced labors, spontaneous labors, planned cesareans, unplanned cesareans, vaginal birth without medication, and vaginal birth with medication)
  • Support any choices the parents make
  • Provide suggestions for comfort and progress
  • Help the woman’s birth partner use those suggestions
  • Give the birth partner a break when needed
  • Ensure the birth partner is comfortable and nourished
  • Allow the birth partner space to participate at their comfort level
  • Create a calm and comfortable environment
  • Work with your nurse and doctor or midwife as a team
  • Provide reassurance when things get intense
  • Encourage the mother and partner to work together during the labor process
  • Aim to build the relationship between mother and partner
  • Respect the boundaries of her role
  • Encourage you during the hardest parts of labor and birth
  • Help you connect with your inner strength
  • Instill confidence in your ability to birth and parent your baby
  • Encourage you or your partner to advocate on your behalf


Doulas DON’T:                

  • Replace the role of your medical care provider
  • Replace the role of your husband/partner
  • Give medical advice
  • Overstep boundaries between other members of your birth team
  • Force women to do anything they don’t want to do
  • Hold women hostage to their birth plan
  • Attend home births unassisted by medical providers
  • Foster distrust between a woman and her care provider
  • Have an opinion on how you should birth or parent
  • Monitor for medical conditions
  • Perform medical procedures (examples: cervical checks, assess blood pressure, assess fetal heart tones)
  • Only support “natural birth” (the term natural can mean several different things)
  • Abandon birthing women if they choose to use medication
  • Have a philosophy on how birth should be
  • Speak to medical staff on your behalf
  • Advocate for you
  • Come to your birth space uninvited

With consent of respected doula colleague KayLee Proctor