What Does a Doula Do?

Doulas are awesome and amazing magical women scattered throughout the world quietly going about the business of supporting women to plan and experience a positive birth.

A common misconception is that a doula only attends home-births but as doulas are concerned with empowering women they usually attend all types of birth, home-birth, hospital birth, elective c-section and any others.

There are different types of doula roles, this post is about birth doulas.

Doula Profile

Doula Infographic – Kate Lili Blog

How do I hire a doula?

If you are in the U.K. you can go to Doula U.K. and search Doula profiles to find one that is in or willing to travel to your location. Lots of doulas are willing to travel. You can view doula profiles and see if there is anyone in particular you think you would get along with before making initial enquiries.

Get asking around, sometimes word of mouth recommendations come from where you least expect them.

What Does a Doula do Practically?

  • Ante natal support & information.
  • Opens space for any questions birth partners may have in confidence.
  • Provides time to just talk/think about baby as a family (especially useful if 2nd or more baby)
  • Be on call (usually) 2 weeks before & after due date.
  • Attend in birth however you need. Can make drinks, set birth space, words of affirmation, support birth partner, massage.
  • More likely to be aware of your birth plan & wishes and gently encourage everyone to follow it.
  • Post natal visit. Debrief about birth.
  • Post natal care visits to help with caring for baby if pre-arranged.

How Much Does it Cost?

On average from £400+ can expect up to £1,000. Depends on location, (London prices likely to be higher for example) services offered, (a doula may include things like book buying or mileage in their costs) and the individual. Being a doula is a vocation but for the majority, it is also their business and you can expect to find a wide variation in how people price the skills and support they offer.

One thing is for certain though, you may expect them to be clear about their cost from the outset so you are able to make a good decision. Some doulas are happy to split the cost into payments over the pregnancy some prefer upfront payment, as long as it is clear. Be sure to check what you are agreeing to before signing the contract between you and your doula and that you are happy with what is being agreed upon regarding services and pricing, and when payment is due.

How Will I Know Which Doula to Choose?

Meet a couple and then decide taking all factors into account. All good doulas would expect you to do this to see who you connect with and will be used to inital meetings with prospective clients. They are in it to support birth not to make excess cash so want you to be comfortable with them.

Jot down some ideas before your first meeting of what you think would be some of the most important things to happen at your birth. Would you like a calm and peaceful atmosphere, where would you like to give birth, what kind of things may help to make you feel safe and in control. A good ice breaker is to talk about why you sought a doula.

What a Doula Isn’t.

A medical professional. A doula is there in a supportive capacity. Even if they happen to have a medical background, the support of a doula cannot replace the advice and expertise of a qualified midwife.

Infallible! Most doulas will stay with you throughout your labour and birth but doulas also have their own families and commitments. Check your doula has a contingency plan in place should she not be able to attend you due to emergency or illness. A lot of doulas on the doula UK website know each other locally and will ‘back-up’ for one another in this (uncommon) instance.

I would really recommend seeking out a doula to support you in birth, whatever type of birth you would like to plan for yourself. Before the birth the cost of a doula seems expensive, after the birth it doesn’t seem anywhere near enough.


  1. 11th October 2016 / 7:26 pm

    I’ve heard lots of people rave about doulas, I never used one myself. Perhaps I should have.

      • 17th October 2016 / 1:31 pm

        Nope we are absolutely done at two! I couldn’t do another pregnancy, oddly I found the births more manageable.

  2. 12th October 2016 / 6:35 am

    This is a really informative post. I’d vaguely heard about doulas when I was pregnant the first time round but never really researched into it. It sounds like they would give great support when you need it most!

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday x

    • 16th October 2016 / 1:33 pm

      Thanks Maria. Yeah they are brilliant and need to be more talked about so more people are aware the support is available 🙂

  3. 12th October 2016 / 7:10 pm

    I had heard of doulas before but didn’t realise just how much support they give. I guess for some women a doula really could make a big difference! X #KCACOLS

    • 16th October 2016 / 1:33 pm

      Definitely made all the difference for me, and they support the whole family too so mine was very much interested in how Rich could be supported too & he had more ideas on that than I would have first thought so it was good that he had chance to talk about it too. X

      • 16th October 2016 / 2:34 pm

        That really is great to be honest! Sounds like an amazing service x

  4. 13th October 2016 / 8:30 pm

    This is such an informative post! I’m applying for a midwifery degree so hopefully I’ll have plenty of encounters with doulas in the future, I think it’s a great idea! #KCACOLS

    • 16th October 2016 / 1:30 pm

      My midwife and Doula worked alongside each other so well. Good luck with the application! I did an access to nursing course and a few of my friends applied for midwifery so I know how hard it can be.

  5. Ali
    14th October 2016 / 8:29 am

    I had no idea you could have them post-natal as well! What a missed opportunity! Why on earth are these women not shouted about more and utilised! Brilliant post once again Kate x

    • 16th October 2016 / 1:28 pm

      Yeah deffo need more publicity these women are angels in disguise 🙂

  6. 12th November 2016 / 9:30 pm

    I had a doula and a scheduled csection. If we are blessed with another child, I’d have one again. So comforting and knowledgeable

    • 12th November 2016 / 9:45 pm

      Me too definitely. I don’t know what I would have done without her!:)

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