What Is a Doula and Should You Hire One

These studies make some great claims, but a doula is not for everyone. If you're on the fence about hiring a doula, keep in mind that having one isn't a requirement, and many mothers prefer not to use a doula at all. If you're still unsure, it could be a good idea to chat with your healthcare provider about it. He may have some good insights on whether a doula could be right for you. Ultimately, the decision is yours.

Doula vs. Midwife

When it comes to a doula versus midwife, you should not be thinking in terms of either/or. There is a major difference between what a doula offers and what a midwife can help you with.

Think of a doula as someone there to provide you with lots of support, kind of like a birthing cheerleader. She can't provide you with any medical advice but she can help you find the right healthcare provider or give you info on where to go for expert help.

A midwife is a specially trained and licensed professional who works closely with your provider to directly assist you during your pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Unlike a doula, a midwife is a registered nurse who has earned her master's degree in nursing with a specialization in midwifery.

Hiring a Doula

If you've decided a doula may be a good option for you, think about when you'd like to start working with one, and start researching and interviewing potential doulas early to give yourself plenty of time to find the right one.

The association of doulas, DONA International, which also offers doula certification training, is a great starting point. DONA International even has a doula search tool you can try to help find one in your local area.

Alternatively, ask your provider, childbirth class instructor, midwife, and even family members or friends for recommendations. You might also want to contact your birthing center or hospital for a referral.

Before speaking to potential doulas, you may want to ask your healthcare provider if a doula is covered by your insurance. Oftentimes doulas are not covered.

It might also be a good idea to ask your healthcare provider whether it will be OK to have a doula with you at the hospital or birthing center, as there may be hospital policies or guidelines about the use of a doula that you may need to be aware of.

And, if you're having a birth plan, you might want to add your chosen doula's contact information, as well as an outline of her role during your labor and delivery. Don't forget to share a copy with your doula, as well.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Doula

The key is to choose a doula you feel comfortable with. Once you've found a few options, it's worth having a discussion with each of them.

You might consider asking the potential doula about her

  • training, skills, and experience
  • how many births she has attended
  • her philosophy when it comes to labor and childbirth
  • how she feels about your labor and birthing preferences
  • what she typically does for moms-to-be during labor and childbirth
  • what various other services she may provide
  • and, of course, her fees.

When meeting with a doula, it's also a good idea to discuss any concerns you may have about your pregnancy, and ask any other questions you may have. And, of course, you should just see how you feel around the doula — after all, you two will work closely together at a really important and personal time.


  • What exactly does a doula do?

A doula provides emotional and physical comfort and support before, during, and after labor and childbirth. A doula can also provide some information and guidance, and can sometimes be a go-between between you and the hospital staff.

  • Can a doula deliver a baby?

No. A doula does not replace the role of your healthcare provider and midwife during labor and the delivery of your baby.

  • Do doulas have medical training?

Most doulas do not have clinical or medical training. Doulas do have experience in childbirth and specific training from organizations like the association of doulas, DONA International.

  • Does insurance cover a doula?

The cost of a doula is not typically covered by insurance but you should double check this with your healthcare provider to find out more about your coverage.

Whether you decide to have a doula during your pregnancy is a personal choice, and only you can know what would make you feel most comfortable. Although a doula is useful for some moms-to-be, it's not for everyone. The goal is for you to feel as empowered and as relaxed as possible during pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and beyond.

While you're here, take a look at our Go-To Pregnancy Guide to help you navigate this special journey.

And, to start earning rewards for your purchases made in preparation for your baby's arrival, download the Pampers Rewards app now.


Preparing for childbirth

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