Different Types of Doulas and Their Roles

The general definition of a doula is a woman who has been trained to support a mother during her pregnancy, labor, and childbirth.  She also supports the newborn and family members in the period of time following birth.

There are many different types of doulas, each with unique roles and responsibilities respective to her job.  The explanation for each specific type of doula is as follows:

Birth Doula Definition 

The most common type of doula; birth doulas are also referred to as labor doulas. Birth doulas begin to support the mother a few weeks before the birth of the baby to a few weeks after birth.  By supporting the mother through practical advice and companionship, birth doulas make the process of pregnancy and labor a much more positive experience for the mother.  You also have an opportunity to receive a certification as a doula by completing a certification program.

What is a Postpartum Doula?

As the second most popular type of doulas, a postpartum doula focuses providing support to the mother and newborn in the first few weeks after birth.  Postpartum doulas can show the mother the best methods of breastfeeding as well as other aspects of infant care such as bathing the baby.  Since many birth doulas stay to support the mother after childbirth, birth doulas transition into postpartum doulas during this time.

What Does a Antepartum Doula Do?

Antepartum doulas help during circumstances of a high risk pregnancy. Usually, the mother is confined to bed, so antepartum doulas provide advice on bed rest, stress reduction activities, and the various complications during a high risk birth.

Definition of a Abortion Doula

Abortion doulas provide the emotional support that is desperately needed by the mother and family after an abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth.  Abortion doulas or miscarriage doulas can provide meals, teach grieving techniques, and help with funeral arrangements.

Adoption Doula Job Description

In additional to the usual practical and emotional support given by a birth doula, an adoption doula specialize in providing a tailored plan to both the biological mother and the adopting family.  One of the primary responsibilities of an adoption doula is to ease the transition of the newborn from one family to the next.

The Role of a Family Life Doula

Newborn babies can cause a dramatic shift in a family’s dynamics.  Doulas that assist in soothing the introduction of the newborn into the new family are called family life doulas. Siblings who become new brothers and sisters and partners who become new fathers can be vulnerable during this stressful transition and require support from family life doulas.

What is the Definition of a Death Doula?

Also called end of life doula or geriatric doula.  Geriatric doulas are commonly employed by hospices to provide comfort and companionship to dying patients to ensure that they do not die alone and without support.