dou·​la | \ˈdü-lə \
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

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 Gonzalez, a 51-year-old doula and Lamaze teacher in Lombard, and her husband bought their four-bedroom house in 2014. Danielle Braff,, "Your eyes don't lie, but your home's square footage figures might," 12 Oct. 2017 Amid concerns that traditional medicine isn’t working quickly enough to narrow the disparity, a new movement is training black doulas specifically to serve black women. NBC News, "How training doctors in implicit bias could save the lives of black mothers," 11 May 2018 Compton began work as a death doula by starting her own company, 11th Hour Care, five years ago. Dana Oland, idahostatesman, "When a loved one needs hospice, you’ll have new options in Idaho. Like a death doula. | Idaho Statesman," 21 Mar. 2018 This water delivery moment shows a mother’s tear-jerking introduction to her infant, courtesy of photographer and doula Angela Gallo. Blake Bakkila,, "13 Stunning Birth Photos People Can’t Get Enough of on Pinterest," 7 Mar. 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

18 Dec 2018

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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 \

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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a knickknack or trinket

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