Understanding Doulas and Childbirth

Women, Love, and Advocacy

  • Cheryl A. Hunter
  • Abby Hurst

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Cheryl A. Hunter, Abby Hurst
    Pages 1-24
  3. Cheryl A. Hunter, Abby Hurst
    Pages 51-72
  4. Cheryl A. Hunter, Abby Hurst
    Pages 73-98
  5. Cheryl A. Hunter, Abby Hurst
    Pages 99-124
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 125-140

About this book


This book contextualizes how having a doula, or labor-support woman, present during childbirth results in lower rates of medical interventions.   American women are inundated with views that childbirth is inherently risky, their bodies deficient, and therefore encouraged to accept the medicalized nature of childbirth resulting in high rates of unwarranted interventions that can pose significant risk in a normal pregnancy.   Why is birthing with a doula different? The narratives in this book support the belief that doulas often question the high rates of medical interventions in childbirth, fundamentally lodging a critique about the medicalization of childbirth to the women they serve. These stories share a very different philosophy about childbirth; one where the female body is capable, resilient, and not normally requiring external medical intervention.  Doulas enter into a care-provider relationship that focuses on the experience of the birth as something transformative, to be honored and centered on the woman’s body in an active role in the process. Lastly, doulas model to their clients both love and advocacy because doulas believe that modeling these behaviors will translate as women become mothers through the process of childbirth.      


Doulas Mothers childbirth education medical childbirth advocacy experience shared decision making

Authors and affiliations

  • Cheryl A. Hunter
    • 1
  • Abby Hurst
    • 2
  1. 1.Educational Foundations and ResearchUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA
  2. 2.GA.T. Still University AllenUSA

Bibliographic information