Who We Are
A Chicago Volunteer Doula is a labor support professional who has chosen to commit time and energy to helping pregnant people and their families in Chicago. Our doulas come from a variety of backgrounds. They are social workers, childcare workers, cab drivers, community organizers, accountants, stay-at-home moms, midwifery students, artists, activists, nurses, lawyers, teachers, yoga instructors and massage therapists.
Our doulas celebrate different racial, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds and some are fluent in Spanish, Russian and Polish to name a few. CVD doulas include women, men and gender non-conforming or trans people, as well as members of both straight and LGBTQI communities. Some of our doulas have disabilities. No matter their background ALL of our doulas are committed to provide the best doula support to the clients they serve. If you feel you would not be comfortable receiving services from a doula who may not be from the same community as you or may have a different background we will be happy to refer you to a community based doula program or get you a list of private doulas.
All of our doulas have been trained by an accredited organization and many are certified. Some of our doulas are new to the profession while many have been supporting mothers in childbirth for years. Each doula has been interviewed by our administrators to ensure that they support our mission, have the necessary skills and are committed to our mission and the families we serve.
What does an On-Call Doula Do?
Our doulas participate in a monthly on-call calendar to provide support to people who deliver with the midwifery groups of 8 different Chicago hospitals: Swedish Covenant Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital, Illinois Masonic Medical Center, UIC Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, PCC Wellness Birth Center, the PCC Wellness group out of West Suburban Medical Center and St. Anthony Hospital. If you are planning to deliver at one of these hospitals with the midwives or with doctors at PCC or Esperanza Health Center, you can be attended by a volunteer doula, if one is available. If you are delivering with another OB at one of these hospitals or at another hospital, you can consider using a traditional birth doula through us.
The calendar is divided into two 12-hour shifts from 7am - 7pm and 7pm -7am daily, with 1-2 doulas on-call each shift. The midwives and the doulas are always in contact with each other to determine when a doula is needed. If there is someone in labor who requests a doula and there is one available, the doula will head to the hospital and attend to that person.
The doula will either stay for the entire labor and delivery or will call in for another doula when the shift ends. The doula will help the client during labor with all of the emotional, physical and educational support listed below. The doula will then stay with the family for 1-2 hours postpartum to help with breastfeeding and to help the client get comfortable.
Our doulas are not allowed to accept monetary tips after volunteering their time. If you would like to give a donation for the services you receive please do so here.
If you have questions regarding On-Call Doula Services please email [email protected]
A Doula Provides Support by Giving:
- Emotional Comfort - Support and encouragement before, during and after labor and delivery
- Physical Comfort - Relaxation and breathing techniques; massage; different positions to enhance the progress of labor and delivery; application of heat/cold and pressure points to relieve pain
- Informational Support - Information about labor and delivery
- Breastfeeding Support - Support for the client at the start of breastfeeding and subsequent consultations, if needed
- Family Support - Support for the partner and/or other people to assist them in helping the client
- Support is available in English and Spanish
Benefits of Using a Doula:
"Many scientific trials comparing doula-attended with non-doula-attended births found that the presence of the doula is associated with more favorable obstetric outcomes -- fewer cesareans and instrumental deliveries and better newborn outcomes. Furthermore, studies that examined psychosocial outcomes in the mother found that the doula's presence throughout labor is associated with such favorable postpartum outcomes as: less postpartum depression; more posititive assessments of her baby; more total breastfeeding on cue; greater satisfaction with the birth experience; enhanced self-esteem; and other benefits."
- Simkin, 2004