Little Honey Money

How A Doula Makes For a Better Pregnancy And Postpartum

Today, more and more women are hiring doulas to support their entry into new motherhood. If you know someone who has been supported by a doula, she’ll most likely tell you she couldn’t have done it without her. Once you’ve experienced the support of a doula, it’s hard to imagine it any other way. We believe all women should have a doula’s support during her most life-changing event. The benefits are extraordinary—for the mother, the baby, and the entire new family.


A doula’s primary role is to help make your birth and postpartum experience easier and better. Doulas are non-discriminatory, trained professionals who provide continuous support—physical, emotional, and educational—to a mother before, during, and shortly after the birth of their child. A doula’s goal is to help a mother achieve the healthiest, happiest, most satisfying experience possible. A doula is not a replacement for your OB or other medical staff—it is in addition.

Doulas benefit and provide support for the entire family, not only the mother. Understanding the needs and dynamics of the family as a whole is a part of a doula being able to provide meaningful guidance.


Doula care and support can come in many forms. Sometimes, a mother-to-be chooses one, full-spectrum doula to support her through the entire pregnancy and postpartum journey. But many doulas specialize in working with mothers during specific stages of her journey. Here’s a breakdown of the types of doula support available for all stages of pregnancy:


You don’t have to wait until you’re pregnant to get the support of a doula. Doulas can help couples when trying to conceive to offer emotional support and suggest ways to help prepare your body for pregnancy with proper nutrition, stress reduction, and mental clarity.


A prenatal doula will help you prepare for birth and educate you on what to expect in the hospital—especially indispensable for first-time moms. A prenatal doula:

  • Provides emotional support for a new mother-to-be and her partner.
  • Has a deep knowledge of “what’s normal / what’s not” during pregnancy—and can be your trusted first call or text in case of worry.
  • Will suggest if and when a concern warrants a doctor’s attention.
  • Is skilled in suggesting natural home remedies to relieve common pregnancy discomforts.
  • Gives physical support in helping a mother understand the new changes each trimester brings, relating to a woman’s body and her emotions.
  • Educates mothers-to-be on the options relating to birth planning, setting intentions, and helps manage expectations relating to them.
  • Provides a high level of emotional support. A prenatal doula’s main goal is to ease the emotional experience of preparing for birth, creating a safe space where trust is key.
  • Research shows that women who use a birth or perinatal doula are: less likely to need Pitocin, less likely to have a cesarean birth, less likely to use any pain medication, and more likely to rate their childbirth experience positively.

Typically, a prenatal doula will also serve as a doula during the birth. The goal of a birth doula is to help you have a safer, easier, quicker birth by providing continuous emotional and physical support—regardless of whether you’re choosing to give birth at home or the hospital, with medication or without. In a hospital birth, the doctor is typically only present at the very end, while a doula is with you for the entirety of labor. A birth or perinatal doula:

  • Acts as your number one advocate in carrying out your vision for birth as much as possible. And if something unexpected happens, a doula help you prepare for contingencies with these goals in mind.
  • Is by your side every step of the way, to help coach you on what to do as labor progresses, including visualizations, breathing, pain management, and so forth.
  • Has an exceptional understanding of the physical phases of labor, and will suggest going to the hospital only when your body is ready.
  • Provides comfort measures during labor, like a birthing ball, massage, or positions to expedite delivery.
  • Is your number one advocate while in the hospital to ensure that any and all interventions are clearly explained.
  • Works to advocate vaginal delivery (versus c-section default, which many hospitals may be apt to do) using skilled hands and positioning tools that can help a mispositioned baby find its way through the pelvis.
  • Research shows that women who use a birth or perinatal doula are: less likely to need Pitocin, less likely to have a cesarean birth, less likely to use any pain medication, and more likely to rate their childbirth experience positively.

A postpartum doula specializes in caring for mother and baby during the “fourth trimester,” or the challenging three-month period immediately following birth. A postpartum doula:

  • Mothers the mother and ensures a safe place for her to rest, heal, and be nourished in good hands.
  • Provides a high level of emotional support, which can be  indispensable especially when hormonal changes are at an all-time high. A postpartum doula is skilled in active listening and offering support during this vulnerable time.
  • Helps to educate on all aspects of caring for a baby, including lactation support and helping to spot issues that may require a doctor’s attention, like torticollis, tongue tie, and reflux.
  • Provides overnight care for the baby so mother can rest and recover. If breastfeeding, the doula will wake the mother when it’s time to nurse and will watch over the baby for the remainder of the night.
  • May provide support around the home, like doing baby’s laundry, meal preparation, and light tidying.
  • Offers physical support in helping a mother understand the changes happening with her body, especially as they relate to healing and lactation.
  • Is skilled in comforting and soothing techniques, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding support, and general newborn behavior.
  • Provides whole family support beyond just mom. This includes partner support and helping care for siblings.
  • Aims to improve breastfeeding success with skilled troubleshooting. Whether it’s a lack of milk, an oversupply, latching issues, or painful letdown, a postpartum doula can help identify these issues so you have the best chance at nursing for as long as you and your baby want to.
  • Will be available to you for support and advice even after the three-month period comes to a close.

The earlier a doula is part of your journey, and the longer you can keep that support, the better your experience is likely to be. Many mothers opt to start bring on a doula in the beginning of their pregnancy. By the time you give birth, your doula will have had the time to understand you and your partner, you’ll be comfortable with each other, and she’ll intimately know your preferences and goals so she can best advocate for you in case things don’t go quite according to plan—no matter where you give birth. The more time you have to build that relationship, the better.

In a perfect world, a woman would have a doula’s support until three or four months after having the baby—although, sadly, that is not readily attainable for many families. Once a woman decides a doula’s support is right for her, it can then become a challenge to decide at what point, and for how long, they can afford to utilize that support. Ultimately, there’s no clear-cut answer, but it is important to note that some doula support is always better than none.


Today, in the midst of COVID-19, doulas are an even more important consideration. With precautions, a doula can still support a new family. It’s advised to check with your delivering hospital regarding who is allowed in the delivery room, as the guidelines vary widely. In some U.S. cities, doulas are considered essential workers whose presence are allowed at birth, while in others, they are not allowed. Many doulas are offering virtual support, despite the challenges.

For any mothers who are expecting during this time, a doula can help set the foundation for a more enjoyable and well-informed motherhood experience—from the very start.

Share this story