What is a doula?

A birth doula is an experienced trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after birth, and provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Doulas are not medical professionals and they are not there to replace partners, family, or friends.

A doula recognizes birth as an experience the mother will remember all her life, and respects the individual choices parents make surrounding the birth of their child. A doula is trained to understand the physiology of birth with an understanding of the process of labor and birth, and is prepared to give assistance, guidance, and provide comfort measures and support in every possible scenario. Your doula will encourage you, offer suggestions to aid labor along, and remind you of your goals. Partners often benefit greatly from having a calm and reassuring doula at the birth, and doulas can also allow a tired partner to take the ever-important snack and bathroom breaks!

It is a doula’s role to help you prepare for birth and then to help carry out that plan with an objective viewpoint. Your doula will then provide guidance and resources throughout your pregnancy, be with you during your entire labor and the hours after, and be there to provide whatever assistance is needed during that time. Your birth doula will also follow up with a postpartum visit to talk about the birth, offer guidance for recovery, and with newborn care including breastfeeding, offering referrals if necessary.

Some doulas offer extra services. A postpartum doula offers education, companionship, and nonjudgemental support by providing evidence-based information and assisting with newborn care and family adjustment. Other services doulas provide may include massage, individual childbirth education classes, or placental encapsulation. They may specialize in or have experience with certain kinds of birth and families: young mothers, queer & trans families, VBACs, or parents who are planning to place their children for adoption.

How do I find a doula?

The Birthing Center of Buffalo can help you navigate this process. We will happily offer recommendations based on your families needs.

The Birthing Center doulas have specialized and continued education in addition to their doula certification. Please check with the Birthing Center Coordinator ( to see if your Doula is approved, and has had the required training to work within our facility.

What is the cost of a doula?

All doulas offer different rates and packages. The average cost for a birth doula is $400-$1000 depending on the level of experience. The cost for a postpartum doula is between $25 and $35 an hour, with package rates being offered as well. Student doulas may be the right choice for some families, and are available  for a lower rate.

What if I can’t afford a doula?

Ask your doula about payment options or a payment plans. Most doulas offer payment plans.

What is included in the doula fee?

While each doula offers different services designed to meet your needs, you can expect your birth doula to offer:

  • A free consultation to get to know each other and discuss your needs
  • Two prenatal meetings to help plan for your birth, offering options, education, and guidance to help you feel prepared for your birth
  • An optional visit along with you and your care provider
  • Email and phone support during your pregnancy
  • Support during your labor, birth and the hours after
  • A postpartum visit

Doulas are required for a Birthing Center of Buffalo birth.