If you're pregnant and need extra support during your delivery, you can ask for a doula from our Hearts & Hands Program.
We want to make sure you have a safe and healthy delivery, as well as the care you need during labor. A doula's assistance is an option we provide at your request.
What's a Doula?
Doulas are volunteers trained to give one-on-one support to women in labor. They provide non-medical physical and emotional care to the birthing mother and can help with communications between the mother, her family and the hospital staff.
Doulas do not replace the mother's partner and are not midwives. See Midwife Services for information on delivering with a midwife.
Support for Your Birth Experience
A doula is a helpful addition at any kind of birth, including induced labors and C-section births.
When a doula is requested by a mother in labor, the doula stays with her continuously until her baby is born, no matter how long it takes. This is regardless of whether pain medications, including epidurals, are used or complications develop.
Our doulas attend births with midwives or physicians at both our La Jolla or Hillcrest Labor & Delivery suites and at our La Jolla Birth Center.See more about our facilities
How Doulas Help
Doulas specialize is in offering comfort and reassurance. Their care helps a laboring patient to feel safe and confident throughout labor, delivery and the immediate postpartum period.
- A doula's presence:
- Helps partners participate at their own comfort level
- Assists busy hospital staff
- Increases a mother's overall satisfaction with her birthing experience
Partners are often grateful to share the "coaching" responsibility with someone more experienced so they can enjoy the birth experience more.
Studies show that doula care can decrease:
- Length of labor
- Use of epidurals and other medications
- C-section rates
While nurses, doctors and midwives change shifts and must come and go to attend to other patients, our doula remains with the mother and her family continuously until her baby is born.
We welcome doulas in labor rooms, and our doulas are accustomed to the hospital's procedures and facilities.
What to Expect
Doula care during birth often includes:
- Walking assistance
- Help with breathing techniques
- Positioning assistance
- Verbal reassurance and comfort
- Spouse or partner guidance
Our doulas are all volunteers and work primarily "on call," but referral doulas are available. Talk to your midwife or physician for more information. You can also hire a private doula who may offer additional services not available through our program.
Cost & Availability
Our Hearts & Hands Program doula services are free and available 24/7.
Any mother delivering with UC San Diego Health can request one of our on-call, volunteer doulas at any time.
For any questions about doulas at UC San Diego (including doula availability), contact Ann Fulcher at 858-249-5935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.