A doula is a specially trained labor support person who provides comfort and support to a woman and her partner during labor and birth.

Can a doula improve my labor and birth experience? 

Yes, research* shows that continuous labor support can: 

  • Shorten labor
  • Reduce the need for labor-inducing medications
  • Reduce the need for pain medication or epidural
  • Reduce the chance of cesarean birth
  • Improve bonding with baby 
  • Increase mom's satisfaction with her birth experience

*Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database Sys Rev. 2013;7:CD003766.

Is there a cost for a UNC Volunteer Doula? 

No, UNC doulas are free of charge. 

Does a doula replace my nurse, midwife or doctor? 

No, a doula does not provide medical care. Your doula is there to provide you with comfort and support. 

What can a doula do to help me during labor? 

A doula will stay with you during your labor, providing you with reassurance, encouragement and physical and emotional support.

Will a doula make decisions for me? 

No, doulas are not medically trained. During labor, a doula is there to help you have the birth you desire, supporting you through any medically necessary changes. 

What if I want an epidural? 

This is between you, and your midwife or doctor, and your nurse. A doula is there to support your decisions! Even after an epidural, a doula can still provide you with meaningful support. 

How can a doula help my partner? 

A doula can help partners participate more fully in the birth. A doula can help the mother when the partner is tired or needs to leave the room. A doula can also lend reassuring words to both mother and partner when the situation seems overwhelming. 

Can a doula help me after birth? 

A doula can help to promote early bonding between you and your baby. A doula can assist you with skin-to-skin time with your new baby and/or with breastfeeding. 

What about doula availability? 

Tell your nurse to call a doula for you when you are admitted to labor & delivery. We try our best to have a doula available but cannot always guarantee one. 

Could I request a Spanish speaking doula? 

Yes, at your arrival to labor & delivery you can let our nurses know if you would prefer a Spanish speaking doula. 

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