Types of Doulas – From Conception to Death: How Doulas Offer Support In Every Stage of Life
By: The Well Well Editorial Staff
While birth doulas are most commonly known, there are a wide variety of types of doulas that can support you throughout every transition in your life from conception to death. Doulas are trained professionals who provide informational, emotional, and physical support before, during, and after specific life events. While society often pushes us to believe we must forgo the hard events in life – from miscarriages and death to surrogacy and birth – there’s another way.
Here’s a list of the types of doulas and how they provide the support we need during these passages in life.
Types of Doulas – The Conception Process
1. Fertility and Conception Doula
Struggling to get pregnant and understand fertility can take a negative emotional toll on couples, making conception issues even harder. A fertility and conception doula can educate you on what to ask during doctor’s appointments, interpret complicated medical test results and fertility treatment options, and help you develop a plan depending on your needs.
2. Pregnancy, Labor, and Birth Doula
A pregnancy, labor, and birth doula aids in the emotional and physical support for you and your partner from pregnancy to birth, providing reassurance, encouragement, and guidance. They can help you communicate with hospital staff, provide breathing and massage assistance, and offer guidance for loved ones.
3. Postpartum Doula
Postpartum doulas help with the emotional and physical recovery required after birth for mothers. They also help with basic newborn care, mother-baby bonding, breastfeeding, and infant soothing. Postpartum doulas help make this momentous transition smoother and easier.
4. Abortion Doula
Family and friends are not permitted to attend an abortion procedure. However, abortion doulas are allowed to be in the room and can provide support, from a hand to hold to a distraction during the procedure. They also offer emotional support, holding space for your feelings before and after.
5. Miscarriage Doula
Miscarriage doulas have extensive training in trauma response and offer emotional and physical support for people who’ve experienced pregnancy loss. A miscarriage doula can aid with emotional trauma after miscarriage, as well as pregnancy post-miscarriage or the decision not to conceive again.
6. Stillbirth Doula
A stillbirth doula is also referred to as a bereavement doula. They’re prepared to support couples giving birth in any trimester with any outcome. Stillbirth doulas provide emotional and physical support during this time. They can aid in unconventional losses, as well, which may include surrogacy and adoption, as well as “rainbow babies” that may come after a stillbirth.
7. Surrogacy and Adoption Doula – Other Types of Doulas
This type of doula acts as a source of encouragement and information during the adoption and surrogacy process. They can listen if you simply need to talk about your experience, or provide education if you have questions about pregnancy, labor, and the processes. A surrogacy and adoption doula can also be there with you if you choose to attend the birth.
8. Death Doula – Other Types of Doulas
A death doula, also known as an end-of-life doula, helps people and families transition from life to death. They can offer physical, emotional, and spiritual support months, years, or days before death. If someone has a terminal condition, they may hire a death doula earlier than someone with a more sudden condition. They sit vigil in a person’s final hours, offer company and comfort, provide hand massages, and help plan funerals.
9. Grief Doula – Other Types of Doulas
Grief doulas can support a person in any sorrowful event in life. Every grieving person needs different things, so this type of doula offers many services. They can help with confusing paperwork, aid in creating boundaries, and advise friends and family. They can provide empathy and offer advice when navigating a transitional time.
Ultimately, regardless of the types of doulas, they are highly trained people who provide many types of assistance in diverse life events. No matter what you’re going through, you don’t have to do it alone – doula support can help.