dou·​la | \ ˈdü-lə How to pronounce doula (audio) \
plural doulas

Definition of doula

: a person trained to provide advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth Research shows that childbirth does go more smoothly with a doula: labor is 25 percent shorter, the need for epidural pain relief is 60 percent less and the Caesarean section rate is reduced by half.— Susan Gilbert

Examples of doula in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

According to Vanity Fair, the Duchess of Sussex is readying herself for her baby's arrival in multiple holistic ways, including using acupuncture, practicing natural birth techniques, and enlisting the services of a doula. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle, Like Her Sister-in-Law Kate Middleton, Is Reportedly Planning for a Natural Birth," 6 Feb. 2019 Unfortunately, many African-American families are unable to afford the security and assurance that a doula can provide. New York Times, "Readers Respond to the 4.15.18 Issue," 25 Apr. 2018 Katie’s sister is a doula; another community member is a pediatric nurse. Anndee Hochman,, "The Parent Trip: Heather Bargeron and Katie Aikins of Germantown," 23 May 2018 Mary Esther Malloy, center, holding her son Bo Hopwood, with her doula, Laura Wolfe, left, and nurse, right, at the then Roosevelt birth center in 2004. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "Mount Sinai to Close Natural Birthing Center After Two Decades," 31 July 2018 The actress's other profession as a certified birth doula probably played a part in her decision to speak out as well. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Hallmark Star Ashley Williams Speaks Out About Her Miscarriage," 28 Nov. 2018 Mommywise coaches have experience as postpartum doulas and training in newborn care, says founder Natalie Nevares. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "Exhausted New Parents Turn to Sleep Coaches for Their Babies," 28 Aug. 2018 This one-room show in Georgetown marks the curatorial debut by photographer and doula Sequoia Day O’Connell, who worked with Bridge Productions founder Sharon Arnold to develop the show’s premise. Gayle Clemans, The Seattle Times, "‘The Veil’ exhibition at Bridge Productions spans ideas of what’s seen and unseen," 7 Aug. 2018 While jewelry designer can sometimes feel like the latest trendy job (what documentary filmmaker was 10 years ago, and what doula is now to a certain sect), Irene has been honing her craft for the past 20 years. Jenni Konner, ELLE Decor, "Jewelry Designer Irene Neuwirth Takes Us Inside Her Eclectic Los Angeles Home," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'doula.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of doula

1969, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for doula

Modern Greek, female helper, maidservant, from Greek doulē female slave

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Dictionary Entries near doula


Douglas squirrel






Statistics for doula

Last Updated

27 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for doula

The first known use of doula was in 1969

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English Language Learners Definition of doula

medical : a woman whose job is to give advice and comfort to a woman who is giving birth


dou·​la | \ ˈdü-lə How to pronounce doula (audio) \

Medical Definition of doula

: a woman experienced in childbirth who provides advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth

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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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