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

To Angelenos who can afford one, a birth photographer is as de rigueur as a doula. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Today: When a home means abandoning your past," 16 Aug. 2019 Death doulas are becoming more popular, and some burials are designed to be environmentally friendly. Annika Neklason, The Atlantic, "HBO’s New Documentary Asks You to Talk About Death," 20 Aug. 2019 There is no certification for birth photographers as there is for doulas, and some said brisk business in L.A. has drawn newcomers who don’t always play by the rules. Los Angeles Times, "One more big push, then just say cheese!: High-end photographers enter delivery rooms," 16 Aug. 2019 Gabrielle San Antonio, 31, a postpartum doula who lives in San Mateo, and her husband, Aaron, 36, believe Ava worked for them. Mandy Behbehani,, "Tech boom in fertility apps aids women struggling to get pregnant," 30 July 2019 Not long into my doula work, my client and best friend gave birth to her stillborn daughter., "Reckon Women interview with Ashley Lovell," 2 July 2019 Hello! magazine reported that Meghan had hired a doula to deliver the royal baby at home. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "All of the Crazy Rumors We Heard About the Royal Baby," 6 May 2019 It was already rumored that Meghan wanted to give birth at Frogmore Cottage instead of at a hospital, and had been working with a doula well in advance of the birth. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Did Meghan Markle Have a Home Birth? Here's Every Clue," 6 May 2019 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced an initiative to include Medicaid coverage for doula support. Frances F. Denny, Harper's BAZAAR, "What People Don’t Tell You About Childbirth: The Realities of Vaginal Tearing," 16 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

11 Sep 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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What made you want to look up doula? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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