Volunteer Doula Service

DoulaAny woman delivering at UC San Diego can request an on-call volunteer doula through the Hearts & Hands Program. This is a free service, and hospital staff can call for a doula at a mother's request at any hour. 

Doulas are a helpful addition at any kind of birth, including inductions and C-section births. When a doula is called in for a mother-to-be, she stays with her continuously until her baby is born, no matter how long it takes and regardless of whether pain medications are used or whether complications develop. Our doulas attend births in Labor & Delivery or the Birth Center, and with midwives or physicians.


What Is a Doula?

A doula is trained to give one-on-one support to women in labor. She provides non-medical physical and emotional care to the birthing mother and may also lend a hand with communications between the mother, her family and the hospital staff.

Doulas are not midwives (see Midwifery Service for information on delivering with a midwife). A doula’s expertise is in offering comfort and reassurance. Her presence helps a laboring woman to feel safe and confident throughout labor, delivery and the immediate postpartum period. Help with comfort measures such as relaxation, breathing, massage and positioning means the mother’s partner can play an active support role with more confidence.

Doula care has been proven to decrease:

  • Length of labor
  • Use of epidurals and other pain medication
  • Episiotomy rates
  • C-section rates

While nurses, doctors and midwives change shifts and must come and go to attend to other patients, our doulas remain with the woman in labor and her family continuously until her baby is born. UC San Diego's physicians, midwives and nurses welcome doulas in labor rooms; Hearts and Hands doulas are accustomed to the hospital's procedures and facilities.

A doula's presence also helps partners participate at their own comfort level, assists busy hospital staff and greatly increases a mother’s overall satisfaction with her birthing experience.

Learn More

Video: A New Mom Shares Her Doula Experience

New mom Michelle Brubaker and doula program director Ann Fulcher talk about how a doula can help a family through childbirth. Click below to watch the video.

How to Help

  • If you are interesting in becoming a volunteer doula, see Becoming a Doula.
  • Help us raise money by using GoodSearch.com as your search engine—just list UCSD Hearts & Hands Doulas as the charity you wish to support.
  • Give to the Hearts & Hands Fund through UC San Diego Online Giving

UC San Diego Doulas in the News

More About Doulas

For Our Doulas

Cookbook Fundraiser

Recipes for Life

Recipes for Life is full of photos, quotes and stories about cooking, life, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. It has a glossary of cooking terms with a list of U.S. and metric cooking measurements. Each book is $25, and proceeds go to our doula program. Contact Ann Fulcher, afulcher@ucsd.edu or 619-543-6269, for your copy.