The Doula Difference


Central Iowa Doulas-newToday’s post is sponsored by the Central Iowa Doula Association. We are honored to have such an amazing group of women in our community!

These ladies have a heart for our community and we can’t wait for you to learn more about this wonderful organization. They’re even offering a GIVEAWAY today as a way to say thank you for sharing their information and resources with your friends and family!

The Doula Difference:

By Mandi Hardy Hillman, M.A., Ph.D., CD(DONA), ICCE on behalf of Central Iowa Doula Association

Doula: n. [doo-lah] a woman who provides continuous non-medical emotional support, education and physical comfort to a mother before, during and just after childbirth.

A doula is a professional who is trained and experienced to provide unique support to women during pregnancy, birth, and post-partum.  Central Iowa Doula Association is a membership organization of birth and postpartum doulas whose goal is to connect mothers with certified doulas in the Des Moines and surrounding areas.  But, what can a doula really do for me?

What makes a doula so special?

jenn doulaWoman who have the support of a trained doula during birth experience shorter labors, have fewer complications,  healthier babies, report more satisfaction with their experiences, and breastfeed more easily (just to name a few). One explanation for these positive outcomes is that doulas recognize (and honor) birth as a key event in a woman’s life – an event she will always remember.

It is this deep and profound respect for birth, and for women, that a doula brings to every birth she attends.  When a woman in labor is treated with this type of respect and reverence (continuously) it’s easy to understand why the outcomes for doula support are so great.  Doulas “mother the mother” during a very critical and vulnerable time in her life.

More evidence for doulas can be found here.

doula mom legs

Continuous support is a key aspect of doula care. 

What this means is that when you hire a doula she is your doula – she is serving you and ONLY you throughout your entire labor, birth, and immediate postpartum time.  There are no clients next door who she has to leave you to check on.  She stays with you for your whole birth experience – whether that’s a 3 hour sprint or a 3 day marathon. 

What about my partner?  

“As a first-time dad, I was very unsure what to expect during labor. Having a doula gave me a support system to better assist my wife before, during, and after delivery….Her guidance and help during delivery made a long, arduous process more manageable. I cannot imagine going through the process of having a child without the help of a doula.” – Matt R., Johnston, IA

doula tammy with couple

Working with a mother’s partner and other support people is one of my favorite aspects of being a doula.  I often tell my clients that I’m not really being hired for her – I’m for the partner.  A doula is there to ensure that partners feel included and present during the birth.  A doula reassures the partner that mom is “okay” – through information and through a calming confident presence.  Partners can feel overwhelmed by witnessing their loved one give birth; a doula can help bring a partner into the experience (if that’s what he or she desires).

The doula and the partner form a balanced birth team – a doula holding one hand and your partner the other!  The nature of women as nurturers means:  we tend to concern ourselves with how our beloved partner is “faring;” this is why I say that a doula is often “for the partner.”  Keeping the partner cool, calm, relaxed, and involved helps the laboring mama too – it’s one less things she has to concern herself with and she can instead  focus on her body, her baby, and her birth. 

Can’t my mother/sister/cousin/aunt just be my doula?

Doulas never take the place of these crucial and support people for a mother during her birth.  What makes the care of a doula different than the care from your close family and friends is the fact that a doula is NOT your close family and friend; a doula is an objective outsider.  This perspective is something that even the best of friends or most beloved of partners cannot offer a woman in labor.  

But what’s this all going to cost me?

Doula fees range from $400-$700 in Central Iowa.  For more on the true value of a doula, we’ll let you take a look at what financial expert Suze Orman recently had to say on the matter! A doula is a NEED, not a want.

I’d like to hire a doula, where do I start?

You can visit our website at or you can meet with us in person at our upcoming MEET THE DOULAS event happening on May 9th at 7pm at Bearth (2614 Beaver Ave in Des Moines).

meet the doulas

Also, you can always contact us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to help you find a doula that’s right for your family.

I think I’d like to become a doula.

That’s wonderful!  We’d love it if you’d join us at DOULA-PALOOZA on May 16th at 7pm at theVillage Learning Centre (733 19th St Des Moines).

doula palooza

Connect With Central Iowa Doula Association

We’re happy to hear from you and love to talk about doulas and all things birth – this was a brief overview of doulas – please do not hesitate to shoot us an email.  Also, find us on Facebook.

Enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card – Just for sharing this amazing association with everyone you know!

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  1. I’ll share on FaceBook– I gave birth in Cedar Rapids, and I think my amazing doula there was a big part of the reason I’m at peace with a birth that did NOT go at all the way I planned!

  2. I will share with my friends who are pregnant or hoping to be pregnant. Doula’s during birth are amazing and so worth the investment!


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