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A doula is “trained to provide advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and after childbirth.” This was the original intention of a doula. 

Yet, there are so many circumstances in which a doula is needed, so there are now many different types of doulas. Parents need support in different ways as they navigate all the circumstances surrounding childbirth, loss, adoption, and more. Different types of doulas provide customized care during these situations. 

There are quite a few types of doulas, and we’ll be looking at 8 of them here which are:

  • Birth doulas
  • Postpartum doulas
  • Antepartum doulas
  • Abortion doulas
  • Bereavement doulas
  • Adoption doulas
  • Full spectrum doulas
  • Baby doulas

Knowing how to choose the right doula is an intimidating decision. To make the right choice for you and your family, you must understand the different roles each type of doula plays. The emotions and events of each situation make having the right doula imperative.

Different Types of Doulas

1. What is a birth doula?

A birth doula is the most common doula. This is the type of doula you hear about most frequently. A birth doula is a supporter of moms during labor and delivery. 

A birth doula provides emotional, mental, and physical support for mothers as they are going through the pain of childbirth. During pregnancy, a birth doula offers support through evidence-based education. They help formulate a birth plan and prepare the mother and partner for the future. 

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A birth doula stands in as an advocate for the birthing mom. While a birth doula does not speak for anyone, it will amplify your voice and ensure your preferences are heard. They ensure you understand everything happening to you and your baby during labor, delivery, and immediate postpartum. 

Most birth doulas will follow up at least once in the postpartum period.

2. What is a postpartum doula?

Postpartum doulas support families during the postpartum period and help parents adjust to their new roles. They offer physical, emotional, nurturing, educational, and practical support during this difficult adjustment period.

The postpartum period is a sensitive and complicated time. Postpartum doulas help everything run a little smoother. Using a professional to help you navigate postpartum challenges reduces stress on the whole family.

A postpartum doula provides any additional resources and professional advice necessary during this time. They offer a holistic approach to assisting the whole family. Some of their duties may include sibling care, baby care, household tasks and errand-running, and well-rounded support for the mother.

Motherhood Center offers postpartum doula services, and you can check them out here.

3. What is an antepartum doula?

An antepartum doula is explicitly used for high-risk pregnancies or those with medically-directed limitations. You might choose an antepartum doula if you are on bed rest, a teen or single mother, have extreme morning sickness, or have any other complication requiring extra support during pregnancy. 

An antepartum doula provides emotional, physical, informational, and practical support around your home during pregnancy.

4. What is an abortion doula?

Abortion doulas provide emotional, physical, and informational support before, during, and after an abortion. This is a difficult time, so having someone to offer empathetic support is critical. 

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There are many reasons for abortions, and an abortion doula’s job is to be there for you without judgment. Whether that’s listening as you grieve or holding your hand in silence, an abortion doula can offer necessary support during this vulnerable moment. 

5. What is a bereavement doula?

Another type of doula is a bereavement or loss doula. A bereavement doula is there for families experiencing the loss of their baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or the knowledge of a loss after delivery.

A bereavement doula offers emotional, physical, and informational support to help families navigate this heartbreaking time. A bereavement doula assists during labor and delivery just like a birth doula. They help you understand procedures and what is happening. They offer support and resources for how to proceed after a loss — how to honor and remember your baby and work through your grief.

6. What is an adoption doula?

Different types of doulas include adoption doulas. An adoption doula supports either the birth mother or the adopting family. They offer emotional, physical, and informational support.

They may act as a birth doula and provide additional emotional and informational support in the postpartum period for the birth mother. For adopting families, adoption doulas offer informational support as families work through the adoption process. They may offer emotional and physical support during the postpartum period as families work to adjust and bond with their newest addition.

7. What is a full-spectrum doula?

Full spectrum doulas offer support through openness and awareness of every expecting mother’s diverse needs. They work to provide equal care regardless of identity, preferences, background, and experiences. 

Full spectrum doulas are well-versed and experienced in various care, from birth to postpartum and loss to abortion. They seek to serve those on all walks of their fertility journey, often starting at preconception. 

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8. What is a baby doula?

A baby doula is number eight on our list of different types of doulas. Baby doulas offer emotional, physical, and informational support to families with newborns during the weeks and months after birth.

Baby doulas offer hands-on support during the early days. A baby doula will provide emotional and physical support as they help parents learn the individuality of their baby. They instill confidence in parenting as they offer soothing techniques and breastfeeding support.

Some baby doulas assist with household organization, meal prep and nutritional support, postpartum recovery, and sibling adjustment. Baby doulas offer the chance for parents to get a full night of sleep, making this new adjustment much more accessible.

Motherhood Center offers professional baby doula services.

How to choose a doula that’s right for you.

This is far from an exhaustive list, but as you’ve seen, many different types of doulas exist. How do you know which doula is right for you? 

The good news is there’s a doula for almost every unique situation, so you can be sure you get the personalized care you need. As you navigate the challenges of pregnancy, birth, loss, or any other circumstance, having the support of a doula is crucial. The benefits of doula support are countless and should not be ignored.

As you decide which doula is best for your family, remember that Motherhood Center offers expert baby doula and postpartum doula services. We also offer a host of other pregnancy and birth-related resources. 

With years of childcare experience, we understand the challenges families with new babies face. We work to provide comfort, confidence, and joy during this vulnerable time. While the postpartum period is difficult, it can also be beautiful and stress-free with the help of our experienced team of doulas.

Don’t miss out on the support a doula can bring. Let us help make this transition easier by contacting us today.

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