Birth Doulas Postpartum Doulas Pregnancy UDA Membership Uncategorized World Doula Week

World Doula Week

By Dezarae Weyburn

Lindsay Dougal, doula, offers laboring mother support.
(Photo by: Mandy Hawkes)

The term “doula” is a relatively new one. Although the Greeks used the term “doula” to mean a female slave, or handmaid, it wasn’t until 1969 that the term was first applied to birth work.

In the half-century that followed, doulas went from completely unknown to a household name. With the formation of DONA in 1992, Ricki Lake’s documentary, “The Business of Being Born” in 2008, and the Facebook series, “Romper’s Doula Diaries“, people were exposed to a new part of the birthing world.  There are now hundreds of doula certifying bodies and organizations. In addition to birth support there are antenatal/prenatal, postpartum, bereavement, abortion, adoption/surrogacy, and even death/end of life doulas.

Raquel Alfaro, postpartum doula, cares for baby while parents rest and recover after cesarean birth.

Although doulas provide strictly non-medical support, science backs their efficacy. Studies show consistently better birth outcomes with doulas than without including shorter labors, less reported pain, fewer interventions and a higher rate of satisfaction with the birth experience. While serving prenatally or in the postpartum period, doulas are perfectly positioned to notice and provide resources for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders such as postpartum depression and anxiety.

Doulas help bridge the gap by providing a unique support to their clients. Here’s what some local parents had to say about their experience working with a doula:

“For me I felt like a doula was a big support for the role of my spouse. As a woman you read and study a lot about labor and delivery, but I feel like my husband just wasn’t prepared. So having a doula out there to help him and help him to feel part of the labor and delivery was awesome. I also think an acting voice for when you are in full labor was super helpful along with the different types of calming and soothing techniques”. (Thompson)

“I don’t know how we did it last time. I really don’t think we could have done it without a doula. Why doesn’t everyone get a doula?” (Orton)

“Having a doula at my birth gave me the fortitude to push through all the opposition I felt. The thoughts that frequently come up of, ‘I can’t do this’ were negated immediately by the female companionship of an amazing supportive doula.” (VBAC mom, Nance)

“Having a doula brought a needed calm and supportive presence into my labor. Her attention to detail was spot-on and she came prepared with ideas and tools that eased my labor and made the experience one to remember.” (Zitto)

The Utah Doula Association (UDA) has over 150 members consisting of doulas and local community partners. The non-profit strives to provide a community of support, opportunity, and education to both doulas and families seeking a doula. Happy World Doula Week to its members and all doulas who are changing the world one family at a time!

UDA Annual Conference
(Photo by: Nathan Caulford)

Need a doula? Find one now.

Learn more about the role of a doula here: What is a doula?

About Dezerae:

Dezerae found her interest in birth while pregnant with her oldest. She attended her first birth as a doula in 2013. In addition to being a birth doula, Dezarae is also a trained bereavement doula helping parents during miscarriage and stillbirths. In 2015, she took a breastfeeding training through the World Health Organization and found a second passion in supporting parents in their chosen feeding method.  Dezarae loves cheering for parents, especially when they feel like they can’t do it, and is honored to witness the birth of mothers, fathers, grandparents, and babies!

Birth Doulas Business Members Only

Postpartum Planning

Do I need a postpartum plan?

        Expectant couples can spend months researching their perfect birth. They need to decide the birth place, healthcare professional, doulas, and birth

photographers, etc. Often times a lot of time and money are allotted to creating a great birth plan. While all of those aspects are sincerely important

many expectant couples fail to consider the postpartum period. The postpartum period can take mothers and families by surprise. According to a recent

article, (Christiansen, 2014), Utah had the highest rate of mental illness in the nation. Many of us may not have expected the sleepless nights, endless

crying, sore body, sore breasts and completely dependent creature we were bringing home. Many of us may not have expected to experience a mood

disorder, postpartum depression or anxiety. While the new mom may also be healing from a vaginal birth or cesarean birth she and her family still need

to be cared for. Meals need to be made, the house cleaned, dishes and laundry done, naps taken, mom well rested, feed, supported and other children

care for (insert plug for postpartum doulas:). Because the postpartum period inhabits so much and lasts for months if not years it’s essential to plan


How can you make a postpartum plan?

Although a postpartum plan is similar to a birth plan, here are a few additional things to consider…

  • Who can offer assistance either by rallying family or friends or hiring a postpartum doula to support you.
  • How long your partner will be off work to bond with baby and help mom.
  • Who can help schedule the delivery of meals.
  • Who can transport older children to and from school?
  • Plan dates and travel arrangements for out of town family visits.
  • Decide who can come pick up toddlers and have playdates while you rest.
  • Can you pay for a housecleaning service?
  • How long will your maternity leave be?
  • Do you need to pump extra while on maternity leave to have a milk storage?
  • Do you need to start interviewing nanny’s or daycare providers?


  • Things to get done at home before baby arrives…
  • Prepare a bunch of freezer meals. Fill your freezer!
  • Buy a lot of healthy snacks to keep on hand when mom isn’t able to cook.
  • Wash and organize all the baby’s laundry.
  • Create a feeding area with a water bottle, snack supplies, books, phone charger, magazines, etc.
  • Talk to older siblings about you new addition. Enjoy the everyday moments!

Christiansen, B. (2014, March 09). Utah has highest rate of mental illness in US | Local News | Retrieved January 09, 2017, from

Tobie Baxter-Spears
Certified Postpartum Doula