What does a Doula do?

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Create A Positive Birth Experience!

Choose a Doula!

It Makes a Difference!

Throughout the ages and among all cultures, birthing women have been attended during labor by other women.

Doulas of South Central Wisconsin

608/ 245-0333

We are an organization of mostly Madison doulas plus other Wisconsin residents offering birth and postpartum doula services as well as a wide variety of perinatal services to pregnant women and their families. We are organized to provide information for parents seeking birth doulas and/or postpartum doulas; to promote the Doula as a professional; and to provide continuing education for practicing doulas. Doulas from outside of Madison have their locations noted in their listing.

What is a Doula?

A doula is a woman who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a pregnant woman and her family before, during and after childbirth. Doulas are trained in the physiology of labor and birth as well as the emotional needs of the woman in labor. It is the job of a doula to ease and speed labor while helping you to have the birth you want.

A Doula:

  • is an extra pair of knowledgeable hands.
  • is a resource for information about pregnancy, birth and parenting.
  • stays with the laboring mother through her entire labor.
  • works for the mother, not the care provider or the hospital.
  • helps to create an environment where mothers and their families can labor comfortably and effectively.
  • supports fathers and partners to they can concentrate on nurturing and caring.
  • works in hospitals and at home.
  • helps create positive birth memories.


Quotes from families in the Madison area:


“Doulas are worth their weight in gold. I truly believe our doula made the difference between the cesarean we might have had and the lovely natural birth we did have!”
– Suzanne A.

“Our doula really allowed me to be present for our son’s birth. I wasn’t worrying about anything, she took care of all the details.”
– Pat Q.

“If it hadn’t been for my doula I would have taken drugs! Something I never wanted to do. Her reassuring presence helped so much.”
– Cindy G.

“Our doula helped me to care for my wife in the best way possible. She showed me ways to help her that I wouldn’t have remembered from class or didn’t even know.”
– Tom B.


What does a Doula do?


  • Provides continuous care throughout the labor.
  • Has skills for making labor easier to cope with and less painful
  • Can offer non-invasive alternatives for complications
  • Knows specific techniques for helping with back labor
  • Can provide early labor support at home
  • Assists with relaxation and visualization techniques
  • Offers support for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)
  • Liaisons with hospital staff to facilitate decision making
  • Helps you to prepare a personalized birth plan
  • Can suggest comfort measures during pregnancy, labor and postpartum
  • Is aware of baby’s needs for a gentle passage
  • Provides newborn and breastfeeding education and support
  • Can provide information about local community resources
  • On call 24 hour for clients for support
  • May offer additional services that vary among doulas


Benefits of a doula.
What does the research show?


The presence of a doula providing continuous support repeatedly produces significant reductions in:

  • Requests for pain medication
  • Use of epidurals
  • Instrumental delivery (forceps or vacuum)
  • The length of labor
  • Number of cesarean operations

Scott, Berkowitz and Klaus, A comparison of intermittent and continuous support during labor: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, May 1999.

Long term benefits to mothers and families:

  • Mother’s increased satisfaction with her birth experience
  • Increased positive feelings towards partner/father
  • Significantly increased success with breastfeeding
  • Decreased incidence of severe and moderate postpartum depression
  • Increased maternal self-confidence and self-esteem

-Klaus and Kennell, The Doula Book, 2002 -“Doulas Contribution to Maternity Care” (literature review available from www.dona.org)

Some doulas may also be known by the term “birth assistant”. Many doulas travel to other areas in southern Wisconsin. See the directory of local doulas at the top left of this page or call us at (608) 245-0333 for additional information.

If you have any questions or comments about this website please contact Rose Marie Bertrand at 244-6958 or email her at roseber@sbcglobal.net.

— June 15, 2007