Yes, you need a doula!


It’s official: the medical community recognizes mother’s need for continuous labor support, namely a doula!

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology released a statement concerning their recommendations on how to safely prevent cesarean section deliveries in first time moms. One of the most exciting parts of their recommendations is this:

“Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.”

This means that one of the most respected institutions surrounding maternity care is suggesting that you hire a doula! And not just because she will smile and hold your hand and sing kum-ba-yah… because they believe a doula will be effective at keeping you out of surgery!

Obviously this comes as no surprise to those of us who provide doula services. We have long known that doulas help laboring moms produce their own natural “pain-killers” (hormones) through continuous support. This helps mom’s avoid interventions, avoid medications, and most of all, avoid cesarean sections. The importance in this statement from ACOG is that they believe doulas to be both effective and underutilized.

When I was nearing the birth of my first child, I learned about doulas and what they do. A local hospital provides volunteer doula services, so I decided that would suffice. I had learned a lot about childbirth, I had my husband as my labor coach, so I didn’t think a doula was really necessary. If I was lucky enough to have a doula available to come to my birth for free, that was fine and dandy.

Then the day of my daughter’s birth arrived. The labor came on strong and screeched to a halt when faced with emotional stress from family members. Labor resumed and we arrived at the hospital, immediately requesting a doula. I was having excruciating back labor due to a posterior baby. I dug into the task of birthing a baby who would not reposition, and my daughter was born 4 hours later. The volunteer doula never arrived.

While the nurses and my husband did what they could, I don’t believe I had the quality labor and birth that would have been possible if I had hired a doula beforehand. She would have been there with me at home and helped me shut out the emotional stress, keeping my labor moving. She could have helped position me so that I could find comfort, and to rotate the baby. She could have given my husband a chance to rest his tired hands and have a snack. She could have given me more comprehensive breastfeeding support so that my baby might not have developed jaundice and nearly need to be hospitalized.

Too many moms think that a doula is unnecessary. That a doula will be too expensive, not helpful, or annoying. This was my assumption as well, but I was wrong. SO wrong. And that’s why I’m a doula today. Even doulas hire doulas for their own births!  This ACOG statement has too much weight and truth for moms to sit back and settle for a less-than-satisfactory birth.

-Allison Kirschenmann, Birth Doula
If you’d like to learn more about me, schedule an interview, or see what services I offer, please visit my website at

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