What is a Doula?

And what is the difference to a midwife?


A doula is a birth companion: She accompanies pregnant women/couples emotionally and physically before, during, and after birth. She porvides constant and personal support. The term ‘doula’ comes from the Greek and means “woman’s servant”.


Did you know that mothers were always supported through this powerful experience of giving birth by other experienced women? Artworks, sculptures and drawings from history show it: The mother, the midwife, and the mother’s companions.


“Throughout human history, women have always helped women give birth. Virtually all non-industrialized, hunter-gathering and agricultural societies offered, and still offer, mothers the continuous support of other women during labor and delivery. As childbirth moved from home to hospital. however, this vital ingredient in childbirth began to disappear. While efforts to involve fathers and introduce other human practices into the birth room brought the couple together at this important time, this practice tended to reduce the sensitive and experienced care of the obstetric nurse during labor. Childbirth tended to become lonelier and more psychoologically stressful for parents.


Continuous support from a doula during labor provides physical and emotional benefits for mothers and health bonuses for their babies.”


Excerpt from “The Doula Book” by Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell, Phyllis H. Klaus.


Continuous One-on-One Support

It is something so few of us get to experience nowadays: Someone to be there with us, constantly and reliably. This is where my work as a doula begins. I accompany mothers to be and their partners emotionally and physically before, during, and after birth. I provide calming and empathetic support to make sure that the mother and her partner receive the best support for the birth and are never left alone. Every mother deserves to experience the birth as a positive moment in her life. As a rule, my support comes in addition to the medical support of the midwife and/or doctor.


Any birth is a unique and unforgettable moment in the life of the mother and her family. They all deserve love and support. Discover what I can offer you.


What is the difference to a midwife?

A doula is always an additional source of support on top of the midwife and/or doctor, in hospital, in a birth house, or at home. She will never replace their medical care, and she has no specific medical training. She is not qualified to check your cervix, test the baby’s heartbeat, take your blood pressure etc. The doula is there for the emotional health of the mother and her partner.


Why do I need a doula?

Monika Maccioni-Meier ist eine superlative Doula

The doula does not replace a midwife or doctor, but she fills another gap, where medical personnel cannot offer the constant one-on-one support that mothers to be deserve. She can engage completely with the mother and her partner, because she has no other job during birth. It is important how the laboring woman and her partner feel during the moment of giving birth. This emotional wellbeing is the mission of the doula. She helps with birthing positions, reminds the mother to stay hydrated and motivated, supports the partners, gives massages…and, most important of all: She is simply there where she is needed! It can be a key moment of the birthing experience (or pregnancy or back at home). Her gift for the mother and her partner is: time.


So why do you want a doula? Because it is important how we give birth and how we are born! You should look back with a smile to the moment of birth, because you had the emotional support you wanted at every step along the way. Whatever happens during birth – someone was there with you. This is an invaluable feeling. We NEVER forget the birth of a child. Ask your grandmother whether she can remember the birth of your mother. I am sure that she can.

My partner will be at my side. Do I still need a doula?

I would recommend it. Throughout history, it was normal for women to support the mother. It is a beautiful image: The laboring woman is looked after and treated like a goddess. Because she creates life. And there can never be enough support for a mother giving birth.


Your partner has a role to play during birth. He is the guardian of the birth room. The rock you can lean on. He loves you. The doula watches over you and over everybody present during the birth. She will support your partner, as she supports you. And she has one great gift to share: The experience of birth. She has witnessed many other births. It is her vocation to help new parents through the process. It will be a new and unfamiliar situation for your partner. It makes sense to call on support.


Do I need a midwife if I have a doula to support me?

 Yes. Doulas have no specific medical training. They are not qualified to check your cervix, test the baby’s heartbeat, take your blood pressure or the many other medical activities that accompany birth.


Will the doula speak with doctors on my behalf?

 No. The doula cannot represent you. It is your partner’s responsibility to speak with the medical personnel (because you are busy with giving birth and should be allowed to concentrate on it). BUT the doula will help your partner express your wishes correctly. Remind him to ask for more information if you feel that you did not understand something. The doula can remind the medical personnel of the requestes you made in your birth plan. She can translate the medical jargon for you. And she will help you take the decisions you need to take. The doula helps you be empowered for the process.


Will my health insurance cover the cost of the doula?

 As a rule, the costs will not be covered, but you can and should ask your health insurer whether they will take over part of the birth preparation costs.