What is a doula?

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

A Birth Doula

  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman’s memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman’s partner to participate at his/her comfort level

A Postpartum Doula

  • Offers education, companionship and nonjudgmental support during the postpartum fourth trimester
  • Assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying
  • Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and makes appropriate referrals when necessary

Local Doulas

You can find a doula who is local to your area or ours at: Doulas of Eastern Idaho  or Mountain Doulas
Here are a few locals that we know of.
Elan Eddington, CD (DONA) ~ Childbirth Education, Doula
(208)270-6517 ~
Julie Harker Buck, CD, PPD  ~ Birth & Postpartum Doula Services
(208)313-0331  ~  ~
Megan Portmann, CD (DONA) ~ Birth Doula,  Maternity, Birth, & Newborn Photography
Klarissa Kelley ~ Birth Doula and Child Birth Educator

“When embarking on one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives–the birth of their first child–a couple fantasizes about what the labor and delivery will be like.  They may have a dream of how it will be–perhaps hoping that this pregnancy and birth will be all their own, something they do together without anyone else’s interference.  At the same time, they will have fears.  On the one hand, they may picture being alone together, with the father being the main helper and support… and going through labor without interventions or interruptions and then enjoy quiet time with their new baby.  On the other hand, they may worry about pain, loss of control, problems for the baby, or life-threatening complications.

Given these hopes and fears, all mothers and fathers need emotional support and help during labor.  Much of this support they can provide to each other… But when two people share an emotional bond and an ongoing relationship, it is very difficult for that companion to remain continuously objective, calm and removed to some degree from the mother’s discomfort and fears, or any danger to her.

For these reasons, every woman in labor needs not only the father or partner but also a nurturing, experience person–a doula–who can calmly and skillfully help her cope with labor and be a reassuring and constant presence for both her and the father.  The doula gives a level of support different from that of a person who is intimately related to the woman in labor…  These two types of support complement each other…

{The training of a doula emphasizes quiet reassurance and enhancement of the natural abilities of the laboring woman.}…In asking fathers to be the main support, our society may have created a very difficult expectation for them to meet.”

                                    The Doula Book, Klaus, Kennell, & Klaus, 2nd edition, 2002  p.5-7

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