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The Doula Book: How A Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have A Shorter, Easier, And Healthier Birth
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The Doula Book: How A Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have A Shorter, Easier, And Healthier Birth

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,145 ratings  ·  76 reviews
More and more parents-to-be all over the world are choosing the comfort and reassuring support of birth with a trained labor companion called a "doula." This warm, authoritative, and irreplaceable guide completely updates the authors' earlier book, Mothering the Mother, and adds much new and important research. In addition to basic advice on finding and working with a doul ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 7th 2002 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published October 17th 2002)
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,145 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Beth Dillon
Nov 18, 2012 rated it liked it
The best part of the book (for me) was the appendix. I think this book is geared more for pregnant mamas rather than just-starting-out-doulas and as such, was actually quite intimidating for a novice doula to read: I felt like it set up this expectation that all doulas know EVERYTHING about birth and are birth whisper-ers knowing exactly what to do to make the pain easier to bear and it more likely you'll have the kind of birth you want (which many doulas are that amazing). But I'm not at that l ...more
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: baby-books
This book would be very informative for someone who did not know anything about a doula or the statistics of improved natural birth with having a participating doula. Since I have read several natural childbirth books, this didn't have as much new information for me.


The doula is there to help the parents have the type of birthing experience they want.

Having an experienced person enables fathers to be much more relaxed, loving and emotionally able than when they are alone by relieving them
Pamela Hale
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a good, basic book regarding using doulas at birth. It was a nice balance of research, technique, and case examples. For anyone who's been attending births for awhile, it's fairly basic, but I still picked up a new tidbit or two (I've attended about 30 births). I would highly recommend that any grandmother, sister, or friend who is planning on attending a loved one's birth read this before the big day. It's a great primer in that regard. My criticism is that the pictures shoul ...more
Mar 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Pregnant couples
Recommended to Net by: Rhiannon
This book makes a solid case for the use of doulas in the delivery room. Included are both antidotal stories and published scientific studies to convince every woman on the necessity and benefits assisted labor. The book also provides a nice overview of services provided by a doula and what new parents should expect. I however would have liked more information on hiring a doula and the doula training and qualifications.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this book from a local midwifery practice to see what it was all about (I am a birth doula). It was a really fast and easy read, and it went back and forth between being helpful for moms and partners, and being helpful for the doula. So I'm not entirely sure WHO this book was written for. But either way, I thought it was great.

For moms: Provides reassurance through research and studies that working with a doula is worth the investment, that medical research has proven that doulas sho
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I ran out of time to finish this book before the end of my pregnancy, but liked the few chapters towards the end of the book that I read after opening the book at a random page. It seems to be up to its reputation of describing well how useful doulas can be and I will recommend it to people that are on the fence about recommending it.
Martha Lerner
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a good, solid book. Reading it as a newer doula, it did provide some helpful information, especially the additional information at the end. I would recommend possibly for new parents potentially hiring a doula to understand the process. Or for a new doula, it is helpful.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: womens-health
This book is useful as an introduction to the work of a doula. The appendix in the back provides some useful coaching and massage techniques. However, I would have like to read more about real-life examples and personal stories, rather than statistics.
Jessica Smith
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not the most exciting read in the world but really good info for Doula’s or even birth partners. I loved all the studies on how much Doula’s impacted birth and even the postpartum period positively. They really are the best! :)
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the most approachable doula book I've read. I just wish it weren't so heteronormative, though this has been my wish for all the doula books I've read so far.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library, parenting
I hired a doula before I started reading this book and from reading it, I feel even better about this decision! Highly recommend doulas no matter how you plan to give birth.
Amanda Hookham
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doula-resources
Cool statistics about the benefits of doulas

Some good tips for doulas but seems more about why people could use a doula
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good information, research and even stories. Just not my favorite book for babies. Very solid though.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
A good guide to doula work, lots of Americanisms, and some of the research is dated, but overall useful.
Jackie Jimenez
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written by doctors so it can be an intimidating read for a doula if you do not realize that. There is a ton of valuable information and should be treated more like a text book. Highlight, take notes. This is a book that a doula will want to refer back to frequently.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mom-books, medical
The Doula Book is a thorough resource for anyone who is interested in what a doula does and the effect that doulas have on women giving birth. Doulas are birthing coaches more or less. They are typically women who are able to help guide a woman through labor and make sure that all her needs are met so that she is able to deliver in the best way possible. I really like how this book promotes the woman's strength and provides statical evidence that having a doula helps in all sorts of areas. I was ...more
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Thanks, Laura, for loaning me this one! I was so glad to see a meta-analysis of studies on the presence of doulas at births. All of my gut feelings and the anecdotal evidence were right. Experienced, one-to-one support during birth does significantly decrease labor time, medical interventions, and caesarian births.

I was so excited about Chapter 9, "The Dublin Experience." I've read quite a bit on the "active management labor protocol" and the high success rates for deliveries at the National Ma
May 16, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is an incredible introduction to doula services for those who are unfamiliar with them. It would be a great resource for moms and families considering the support of a doula for their birth. However, while the overview of birth services is appreciated, the book seems highly judgmental in terms of parenting. For example, much of the book is spent examining different studies in which birthing women used doulas; the vast majority of these studies focus on the subsequent parenting and what ...more
Jan 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A good resource for soon-to-be mothers/fathers deciding whether or not to work with a doula, and also seemingly a good resource if you are considering becoming a doula. The book is of course a little one-sided, considering the agenda is to choose birthing with a doula, but it does have a decent amount of studies and facts to back up its claims. The fact that this book was published over 15 years ago means some of the stats are definitely outdated - although they are probably to the strength of t ...more
Sep 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: doula
2.5 stars. When I first wanted to learn about doulas, I went out and bought this book. I read most of it and couldn't figure out what a doula does. After I found out more through other sources, I reread this book and it made more sense. I really don't think this book should be the basis for introductory learning, for parents or doulas. But other than attempting to provide an introduction, it doesn't have much to offer. It's a shame that this is a mandatory book for certifying with the largest do ...more
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an updated version of Mothering the Mother. It includes a ton of scientific evidence that shows how helpful it is to have a doula at a birth -- faster labors, less medicine needed, fewer interventions taken, less pain, better breastfeeding results after birth, and even parents feeling more confident as parents months down the road. It would be hard to read this book and then not want to hire a doula for your birth!
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
For someone who is only just learning about the efficacy of doulas, I think this is a very important and convincing read. There was a lot of great information, although I didn't like the writing style very much. For people like me who have already read a lot about natural birth, midwvies, doulas, etc., a lot of this information was redundant. Still the book has convinced me that it's worth it to engage a doula for my next birth, even though I plan to use another homebirth midwife.
Nov 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
This one I checked out from the library, and that's the way to go. I liked it. It was very informative and I'm glad that I read it. Even though I am planning to have my next baby at home with a midwife, I would consider a doula. All the same, there isn't anything in the book that I'm likely to want to look up again.
Katherine Parker
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: breeder-books
I read this for my doula training. It's concise and has great information about the value and purpose of having a trained labor support person with you during labor and birth.

I learned about a non-pharmaceutical pain relief technique that I had never heard of before: using sterile water (not saline) injections in the lower back instead of an epidural.
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: birth
I had to read this book for my doula training. I found the studies interesting but vague at times. What really bothered me was the heteronormative nature of the book. Not every woman has a birth partner, especially who's a husband. The book could really use an update to acknowledge the wide range of families-to-be who benefit from doula services.
Elizabeth Merchant
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: our-library
An excellent read for someone considering working as a doula (labor coach/companion) and a really valuable read for a mom-to-be considering hiring a doula for labor support, because it provides clear statistics on the benefits of using a doula, and paints a picture of what laboring with a doula is like.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was predominantly geared towards first-time parents who might be thinking about using a doula, but the appendices were great for doulas to be. There were also 2 fantastic chapters on how the doula doesn't take over the role of the father in the delivery room and how she supports both of them during that time. I'd have couples read those chapters alone.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very informative. It is intended to help educate an expectant mother of what a doula does. It helps by explaining what a doula is, how one can be affordable, how a partner could be involved in a birth, and other important things to know about having a doula so that she may make a better decision on whether or not to hire one.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Useful as a book ABOUT doulas, if you're already familiar with childbirth. Also has some useful resource lists at the end. I got pretty turned off by a lot of heteronormativity and unmedicated-birth-preachiness, though. Only at the very end did they even acknowledge that sometimes interventions DO become necessary for safety and wellbeing.

Didn't love it, but I did copy out the resource lists.
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