This “Baby Nurse Question” is an excerpt from The Baby Nurse Bible: Secrets Only a Baby Nurse Can Tell you About Having and Caring for Your Baby. I feel compelled to share this because so many of the expectant parents I’ve worked with over the years, and still today, have expressed anxiety over labor and birth as it draws closer. To feel this stress is completely normal, and for those moms and dads who feel they need a little extra support, a birth doula may be a good option. Here’s a bit more about a doula’s role in labor and birth:

Q. My friend hired a doula to be with her in labor. What is a doula? Do I need one?

A. Birth doulas provide physical and emotional support during labor. They are usually hired and paid by the expecting family, and fees vary depending on the doula’s expertise and references they have (some have hundreds or even thousands of labors under their belts!). More and more families are willing to pay these fees due to the positive effects doulas can have on the birthing experience. Because doulas guide moms through each contraction step by step (and help birth partners feel more involved in the process as well), many doula-supported births avoid the use of medical intervention. Doulas in no way replace the roles of health-care providers or nurses, but instead serve as a valuable personal resource to families leading up to and during the birth of their babies. You certainly don’t need to hire a doula in order to have a positive birth experience, but if you’re hoping to achieve a specific birthing goal, such as an unmedicated birth, home birth, or vaginal birth after cesarean, hiring a doula may be a good choice for you. For more information about the role of a doula, and to find those in your area, visit the Doulas of North American Website (htttp://

Baby Nurse Tip

If you’re interested in hiring a doula for the birth of your baby but are on a limited budget, not to worry! Doulas who are still building up their expertise or doulas in training may be just as qualified yet affordable. And most doulas, regardless of their fees, offer payment plans according to your needs.