Thinking ahead to your birth? Consider a doula!

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8 Proven Shortcuts To A Healthy Pregnancy

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May is International Doula Month, so what better time to talk about the benefits of bringing a doula onto your birth team!

Doulas are trained professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth – to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.

Historically, it was the norm for women to receive continuous support through labour. However in today’s hospitals worldwide, continuous support has become the exception, rather than the rule.

Numerous clinical trials and systematic reviews have shown that continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for both mom and baby, including:

  • higher rates of vaginal birth
  • fewer epidurals
  • shorter labours
  • fewer caesareans and forceps deliveries
  • higher Apgar scores (a simple assessment of baby’s health at birth)
  • higher breastfeeding rates
  • higher satisfaction with labour/delivery

Doulas typically charge between $500 and $1500, depending on their experience. This fee typically includes a prenatal visit, being on-call for your birth-month (2 weeks before to 2 weeks after your due date), continuous support during your labour and delivery, and one post-partum visit.

The benefits of a doula have been demonstrated across all socio-economic groups, and even in couples where the partner plans on attending the birth as well.

When choosing a doula I typically recommend asking for referrals from your care-provider and other moms – choose two or three to interview, and then pick the one that seems to fit best with your birth plan / approach.

If finances are a barrier, there are a number of options:

  • Some hospitals and birth programs offer in-hospital doula services for low-income women, either at reduced rates or no cost to the pregnant woman
  • If you have extended medical insurance, the services of a Naturopathic Doula (an ND who is also trained as a doula) may be covered by your benefits
  • Ask a female friend or family member to act as your doula. She may not be as skilled as a trained doula who has attended multiple births, but studies have shown that having a female friend/family member who is even minimally trained (this could be as little as having attended an in-person or online prenatal course with you) has positive impacts on both mom and baby.

I hope you have found this helpful, and do let me know if you have any questions!

If you are hungry for more evidence-based information in your pregnancy, sign up for my free webinar: 7 Pregnancy Myths Debunked – and get the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy and a thriving baby.

And if you are a care-provider looking for evidence-based resources for your pregnant patients, please get in touch with us at

In health,

Dr Jocelyn Land-Murphy, ND

Terra Life

Disclaimer: The information and content provided is for general educational and informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Please consult the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for full details.


Campbell, D. et al. (2007). Female Relatives or Friends Trained as Labor Doulas: Outcomes at 6 to 8 Weeks Postpartum. Birth Issues in Perinatal Care, 34(3): 220-227.

Gruber, K. et al. (2013). Impact of Doulas on Healthy Birth Outcomes. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 22(1): 49-58.

Hodnett, E.D. et al. (2012). Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews.

McGrath, S. & Kennall, J. (2008). A Randomized Controlled Trial of Continuous Labor Support for Middle-Class Couples: Effect on Cesarean Delivery Rates. Birth Issues in Perinatal Care, 35(2): 92-97.

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8 Proven Shortcuts To A Healthy Pregnancy

it's free!
Protecting your personal information is of utmost importance to me