What is a Doula?

birth doula helping mother during labor

What is a Doula?

Birth Doulas prepare families for childbirth with evidence-based information and attend to the physical, emotional, and psychosocial needs of people in labor.

Postpartum Doulas provide culturally appropriate emotional support to assist parents with the transitions of the postpartum period and caring for a new baby.

In addition, doulas follow up with guidance and referrals to community resources for self care, lactation, and other issues pertaining to healthy parenting.

Why Are Doulas Essential?

Doulas provide essential non-medical perinatal support and have the potential to reduce disparities in birth outcomes. Professional organizations including ACOG, AWHONN, Association of Black Cardiologists, March of Dimes, and Postpartum Support International support the inclusion of doulas as part of the care team to promote improved and more equitable health outcomes for all birthing individuals.

Doula support can reduce the need for certain medical interventions and cesarean sections, leading to cost savings. Insurance coverage for doula care should be an industry standard, as out-of-pocket costs for doula care are not affordable for all families.

How Can You Help Make Doula Care More Accesible?


Hospitals can recognize doulas as allied health care professionals. Research shows doula support improves birth outcomes, increases patient satisfaction, and reduces disparities in health outcomes. ICEA collaborates with hospitals to create in-house doula programs.

If this is something your hospital desires, we can help!


Policymakers can recognize doulas as a critical component in maternal health programs for all pregnant, birthing, and postpartum individuals.

Include doula services in legislation to support a reduction in maternal mortality, improved perinatal mental health, and healthy birth initiatives.

Insurance Companies

Insurance companies can recognize doulas as a key factor in reducing costs, and provide reimbursement for doula services throughout the perinatal period for all birthing individuals.

Research shows a reduction in the use of medication, interventions, and cesareans for patients who have doula support.

Institutes of Higher Education

Institutes of higher education can collaborate with ICEA to incorporate doula skills into training programs and provide opportunities for certification.

At minimum, health profession programs should teach about the doula’s unique role in supporting the psychosocial, physical, and emotional care of the patient.


ICEA Endorses the Concept of the Circle of Care

The key person in the circle of care is the pregnant person. This individual is responsible for selecting other people for information, advice, care, and support.

Doulas are an essential part of this allied healthcare team.

Help More People Get Access to Doulas

This letter of support details how we can work together to increase access to doulas throughout the world. Evidence shows doula services provide proven benefits of support, advocacy, and encouragement to birthing families.

We at ICEA are dedicated to bolstering the continued support for doulas around the world. Mobilizing our members to share this letter on various platforms can lead to continued doula education, fair compensation, and advocacy utilization.

The downloadable PDF version is available for all to access effortlessly and send to their local/regional hospitals, universities, legislators, and insurance institutions to gather support and cultivate a campaign for doula promotion.

doula and pregnant woman exercising
Scroll to Top