Doula (Doo-la) — A doula is a trained woman who comforts and supports mothers and their families as they bring their babies into the world. A doula provides continuous emotional and informational support during and just after birth.

We currently have about a dozen doulas on the BMH doula roster. Doulas are asked to participate in continuing education and be on-call at least once per month. Each of the doulas involved in the doula program have participated in extensive training. Their training includes stages of labor, pain management techniques and tools to support family members and partners. They are also familiar with the Birthing Center resources and staff, allowing them to be better equipped to provide support to the mother and her family.

What is a doula?

  • A doula is a trained support person who provides physical, emotional, and informational support before, during, and after birth.
  • A birth doula understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor and assists the woman and her family in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth.
  • A birth doula stays with the mother from the time that she is contacted to at least one hour after the birth. This continuity of care allows the mother to have a consistent presence at her birth.
  • Scientific trials have shown remarkably improved birth outcomes because of the presence of a doula. They also show a decreased amount of interventions and a higher number of mothers viewing their birth as a positive experience.

A doula is also available to meet you at the Birthing Center if you have not arranged for one before labor begins. Your nurse may contact the “on-call” doula on your request once you arrive at the Birthing Center.

You have the opportunity to meet one of the doulas at your Childbirth Education Class. For more information contact Carol Schnabel, Doula Coordinator at 802-257-1894, cschnabel@bmhvt.org or Erinna Cooper, Birthing Center Nurse Manager at ecooper@bmhvt.org and 802-251-8710.