What is a doula?

A doula is a specially trained labor and birth assistant that provides guidance and support to a woman before, during, and after birth.

How can a doula
benefit me?

The special thing about doulas is that they attend to your personal needs. Your doctor, midwife, and nurses have many medical responsibilities, but I'm here to help you get what you personally deem a positive birth experience. Every pregnancy and labor is different and can be intense and demanding so doulas can help you prepare for and manage labor by providing education and physical and emotional support. In providing this service they can relieve the anxiety and stress that sometimes accompanies this exciting time in your life. Though hiring a doula is not a guarantee, women who have doulas attend their birth often have shorter, easier labors with less medical intervention and fewer complications.

Want to hear scientists
and doctors say it?

"Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula. A Cochrane meta-analysis of 12 trials and more than 15,000 women demonstrated that the presence of continuous one-on-one support during labor and delivery was associated with improved patient satisfaction and a statistically significant reduction in the rate of cesarean delivery."

-American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine March 2014

What do I get?

Let's chat! Provide a complimentary introductory meeting to get to know each other and make sure that we'll make a great team. I encourage partners to come along so that we can all share our expectations and learn about each other.

Knowledge is power! After I am hired, I like to meet for at least two prenatal visits, time permitting, so that we can work together more personally to prepare and discuss your birth preferences.

If you've got questions or concerns (and you will) I stay available for you through email and phone and will return your messages within 24 hours.

Here we go! I am prepared to join you in labor whenever you feel that you need me, whether it's at home during the early stages or at the hospital or birthing center. I will stay with you throughout labor and the birth of your beautiful child as long as you need me.

A new family! A few days to a week after the big to-do, I like to schedule a postpartum visit to check-in, review the birth, and provide additional resources.

What about my partner?

During our prenatal visits we will begin to discuss the roles that we expect to take on during labor. The mother's job is pretty set, but we can plan on how I will be able to best support the partner's efforts. Some partners want to do it all, and that's great! My role is to stay more sidelined and to be present in case the partner needs a break, food, or extra guidance. Some would rather be the emotional encouragement and support that the mother needs while I take on more physically comforting tasks. Whatever our plan is, I am open and flexible to working with whomever the mother chooses to have with her.

Who should
get a doula?

Everyone who wants one! Doulas are amazing! And I'm not just saying that because I am one! Whether it's your first or fourteenth, whether you have a partner or not, whether your goal is an unmedicated birth or you're open to all pain relief options, my goal is to help you have the birth you want. My support will make you feel confident in yourself and your body to achieve your desired birthing plan. I work with the strong belief that all women deserve to have an empowering and positive birth experience to jump start their lifetime career as parents.

Who is Caroline?

Caroline's professional background is varied - ranging from her job as a Chemo Suite Manager at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital where she offered reassurance and helped connect patients to their care to a Deckhand on a tall ship where she kept the rig afloat thanks to a great amount of teamwork. She has extensive experience educating adults and children on a diversity of topics such as teen parenthood, 18th century farm practices, and the geology of glaciers.

Throughout her career in education and service, she has been passionate about actively working for and with women, especially in the area of reproductive justice. Caroline is motivated by the strong belief that ALL women deserve to have an empowering and positive birth experience to jump start their lifetime career as parents. She believes that knowledge and informed consent are powerful birth tools and is dedicated to compassionately serving and supporting women as a birth doula. She has experience with homebirths, as well as hospital births and hypnobirthing, and is also a part of The Joy In Birthing Foundation, which supports low-income expectant mothers.

Caroline lives on the westside of Los Angeles and happily serves the greater Los Angeles area.

-Photography by Jason Lipeles
© Copyright Caroline McKeown 2014