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

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 Moreover, where a midwife focuses on both mother and child, a doula’s primary role is to support a laboring mother and partner throughout the process. Mariko Zapf, Good Housekeeping, "I Had A Successful Vaginal Birth After A Cesarean (VBAC)—Here's What You Need To Know," 16 Nov. 2017 Expanding Medicaid coverage to doula services is an effective solution that can be quickly implemented. New York Times, "Readers Respond to the 4.15.18 Issue," 25 Apr. 2018 As an end-of-life doula, Neff sits with the dying and their families. Peter Rowe,, "Going this way? Death is still inevitable, but 'angels' and cafes want to change our last days," 20 May 2018 The business offers labor doula support through pregnancy and labor, as well as postpartum support, helping a family in the early days at home with a newborn. Caitlin Mullen,, "'It’s very Oak Park': Birth Boutique, focusing on all things mom- and baby-related, opening in arts district," 24 Apr. 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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Douglas squirrel






Statistics for doula

Last Updated

11 Sep 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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lying above or upon

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