Why would having a doula be beneficial?

After being with women in East Africa and all throughout Asia as they birthed their babies, I can say with confidence: no matter where you are in the world, women are amazing, and their bodies are more than capable of birth.

Your body was uniquely and creatively designed, and it was done well!

So why hire a doula if you’re capable?

For birth to happen the way our bodies were designed, we need a safe space. When we feel safe, we are able to turn off our “thinking brain” and go into labour land, an internal space where we follow our instincts related to movement, noise, and needs.

Many women describe this as a “primal” state – and if we’re able to enter and STAY in that state, labour goes faster, babies are born easier, we cope better, and there is almost always no interventions needed.

What kinds of things can disrupt this process?

  • Fear
  • Tension
  • Bright lights
  • Being asked questions or educated during labour
  • An unfamiliar environment or person entering the room
  • And believe it or not, our own internal beliefs about our role as the birthing mother in the birth space, our autonomy (even when we are in labour!), and our confidence in making our own decisions.

Enter the doula.


A doula is someone you hire to provide non-medical support to you in pregnancy, labour, birth, and postpartum. They do not make decisions for you or on your behalf, take the place of your birth partner, or pressure you into their own beliefs / desires for your birth. As doulas, we are a warm, friendly, familiar and comforting presence, and our job is to safeguard the birth space so that you can do what you were already created to do.

Doulas provide:

  • Physical Comfort, such as massage, counter pressure, holding hands, applying warm/cold compresses, ideas for position changes/help getting into those positions, encouraging hydration and nourishment, setting up a birth space that is dimly lit and peaceful, and safeguarding the peace of that space.
  • Emotional/Mental support, such as working through fears related to birth during pregnancy, encouraging relaxation, birth affirmations, walking you through visualisation, making a birth plan/map, releasing tension, reassurance, validating feelings, advocating for your desires/preferences, and debriefing post birth.
  • Informational support, including providing you with the latest evidence-based information on interventions or complications you may face, assisting with decision making techniques (such as BRAIN), education about the birth process, helping your partner to understand what is happening in the moment, and encouraging your own research in order to make decisions you feel confident in.


In April 2024, Evidence Based Birth updated their article on The Evidence for Doulas, and it’s a great resource to explore related to the research behind the benefits of doulas. In short, having a doula is not just a feel-good option for labour, it’s backed by science!

According to a 2017 Cochrane Review, the benefits of having a doula include:

  • More likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth
  • Less likely to have a forceps or vacuum assisted birth
  • Less likely to have a cesarean section
  • Shortens labours by 40 min on average
  • Babies are less likely to have low APGAR scores at birth
  • Lower chances of Postpartum Depression

The positive impact of a woman having a doula present in her labour and birth has also been acknowledged in publications from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2019), the American College of Nurses and Midwives (2022), The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK, 2021), and The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2022).

Having a doula also helps your birth partner because they can focus on the star of the show, which is you! Part of our role as a doula is to provide reassurance to your partner that the person in front of them is acting normally for a labouring woman, even though they may have never seen her in that state before! We can also guide them as they provide comfort to you, because when the rubber hits the road, they may not remember everything you’ve tried to talk through beforehand, and that’s okay!


Birth is a life changing event for the whole family, and doulas help to make that transition as smooth as possible. After birth, debriefing is a huge element of a woman feeling confident in her mothering, even if things didn’t go as she had hoped in her birth. The opportunity to debrief with your doula is irreplaceable because she was there the whole labour, understands the medical language that a midwife may have used in the heat of the moment, and witnessed your courage and tenacity as you brought your baby earthside.

A good doula will listen with understanding and empathy, help you to unpack how you felt throughout your labour and birth, explain anything you didn’t understand as far as medical jargon, and celebrate the way you have persevered.

I have seen women birth all over the world over the last decade, and I can reassure you that you were built for this, AND also tell you that the benefits of having a doula are worth considering.

I have seen firsthand how women who have a doula alongside them feel advocated for, safe, and look back on their births as the first confidence builder for becoming a mother, even if there were complications.

Whether or not you hire a doula, I wish you a peaceful, joy-filled birth! You are brave, you are strong, you are capable, and you are extraordinary.

You got this!

My name is Amada Kusel, and I am a qualified doula who has completed training at the Doula Training Academy, and I service the Perth metro area. If you would like more information about my doula services, please contact me:

Amada Kusel, Doula





Articles referenced: 

Evidence Based Birth: The Evidence on Doulas

Cochrane Review 2017: Continuous Support of Women During Childbirth

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