What is a Doula and Do I Want One?

Newborn Photographer Philadelphia

Why have doulas become such a hot commodity in the motherhood journey? Women have become more vocal about struggles of pregnancy and difficulties of birth. Not to mention the mental toll of postpartum life, there has been an explosion of resources and industries that cater to the comfort, support and care of new moms and newborns.  Having a doula with you on this journey can greatly increase the probability of a positive birthing experience.

What is a Doula?

Doulas are trained professionals who provide informational, physical and emotional support to you and your family. This includes time the pregnancy, labor and postpartum phases of birth.  They work directly with other medical professionals (i.e. nurses, doctors, midwives). Together they provide a safe and emotionally supportive environment when bringing a newborn into your world.

There are two types of doulas. Though many span both these categories, others specialize in one or the other.

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Birthing doulas will be part of your birth team. Not only helping you develop a safe, fulfilling birth plan, but will also be present with you when giving birth. A doula will help soothe and calm you during the birth process. As well as help answer your questions and tend to your needs.


Post partum doulas will mostly likely be present during your pregnancy, but their main focus is the fourth trimester and helping to care for you and your newborn baby postpartum.  This includes over night stays, fending assistance and giving you space to heal, while they tend to other parts of your life that may be on hold with a newborn.  

Being so close to the city, there are hundreds of certified doulas who are qualified and equipped to meet varying needs.  In the Philadelphia area, the doula community will take the time to refer you through their network if they are not able to meet your needs, helping each other connect to expecting mothers. 

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The best place to start is word of mouth.  Talking to other women in your community or social facebook groups will give you direct, word of mouth referrals and someone to talk to.  Google is also a great place to go through the local listings and see if a particular doula stands out to you through their messaging and experience.


Most doulas will have a phone consultation or a face-to-face meeting to get to know each other and see if you feel comfortable with them.  According to Paige Greeley, above all else, you want to feel like your doula is your friend. Someone you can be yourself around and feel fully and completely at ease with.  Here is her checklist for finding a doula that best fits your needs:

  1. Connection/do you like them
  2. Will they be able to do what you want?
  3. Financially, is this a good investment for you to make?
  4. Look for testimonials and Reviews. What is their vetting? 


Check out the Perinatal Partners, a collection of practitioners and services catering to the prenatal, postpartum and everything in between in the Philadelphia area.

Are you looking for more prenatal and postpartum content to help you along the pregnancy and birthing journey? Here are a few of may favorite posts full of good information for new and expecting mothers.

Hello. Thank you for visiting. 

I am Steph, owner of Steph Kines Photo, specializing in working with young families, expecting women and growing babies in the Philadelphia area.  I hope you found my What is a Doula and Do I Want One? blog feature helpful and inspiring.  If you are interested in booking a photography session and would like to talk more about how we will spend our time together, let’s connect here.  Finding your photographer can take time, so if you would like to follow along and see more behind the scenes, follow me on Instagram.

Steph is Philadelphia’s Natural Newborn Photographer, specializing in finding light and connection in your own space.  She offers maternity, family, milestone and newborn photography in a warm, natural and unexpected way.  Her clients love that her sessions are child-led which means giving space and guidance to young children to be themselves in their own environment.  This leads to more true reflection of your family at this time in your life.  All clients receive a collection of prints and the rights to fully edited digital files.  Steph can design custom, heirloom albums and assist with wall galleries to display in your home.  I invite you to learn more about the quality and feel of my offered products and art with this blog post.

Steph serves Philadelphia, Bucks County and The Main Line including:

Bryn Mawr  |  Media   |  Main Line  |  Gladwyne  |  Villanova  |  Radnor   |  Narberth   |  Wynwood   |  Ardmore  |   Malvern   |  Strafford  |   Chestnut Hill   |  Haverford   |  Merion   |  Penn Valley  |   Doylestown   |  New Hope   |  North Wales   |  Lansdale   |  Harleysville   |  Newtown Square  |  Collegeville

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