dou·​la ˈdü-lə How to pronounce doula (audio)
plural doulas
: 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 Honeycutt, a birth photographer and doula, declined to comment. Amy Brittain, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2023 Given the statistics, Valentine worked with a birthing doula, a person trained to provide emotional, physical and educational support for an expectant mother or one who has recently given birth. Zinhle Essamuah, NBC News, 11 Sep. 2023 The hospital — located in an area in which 40% of the residents live in poverty — welcomes doulas, boasts a diverse obstetrics team, has staff specially trained to support moms in breastfeeding and provides water tubs to patients in labor. Bracey Harris, NBC News, 15 Oct. 2023 Massachusetts is part of a wave of states moving to implement coverage of doula services, including New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Globe Staff,, 25 Aug. 2023 Freeman is now a pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and bereavement doula. Sara Harrison, ELLE, 17 Aug. 2023 As Walmart points out, utilizing the care of doulas, particularly for Black mothers, can lead to better birthing outcomes. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 31 Oct. 2023 Employees on Walmart’s medical plan can receive assistance from a doula with coverage of up to $1,000 per pregnancy. Anne D'innocenzio, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Oct. 2023 Carter’s new avocation as an end-of-life doula is an outgrowth of the more than 15 years the Detroit native has spent doing hospice work in her free time. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'doula.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1969, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of doula was in 1969

Dictionary Entries Near doula

Cite this Entry

“Doula.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


dou·​la ˈdü-lə How to pronounce doula (audio)
: a woman experienced in childbirth who provides advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!