What Percentage of People Use Doulas? New 2024 Research

Pregnancy and Postpartum Care for Everyone

A doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to individuals and families before, during, and after childbirth. While the use of doulas has ancient roots in various cultures, their popularity has surged in modern times due to their ability to offer personalized care and support during one of life's most transformative experiences: childbirth.

In the United States, the utilization of doula services has been steadily increasing over the past few decades. This trend is reflective of a growing recognition among expectant parents, healthcare providers, and policymakers of the benefits that doulas can bring to the childbirth experience. While precise statistics on the percentage of people who use doulas vary, estimates suggest that approximately 6-10% of expectant mothers in the U.S. engage the services of a doula.

The rising popularity of doulas can be attributed to several factors.

  • Firstly, doulas offer continuous support throughout labor and delivery, complementing the care provided by healthcare professionals such as obstetricians, midwives, and nurses. This continuous support has been associated with numerous benefits, including shorter labors, reduced need for medical interventions like cesarean sections or epidurals, and higher rates of satisfaction with the childbirth experience.
  • Furthermore, doulas provide emotional support to expectant parents, helping them navigate the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. They offer encouragement, reassurance, and comfort measures such as massage, breathing techniques, and positioning to manage pain and promote relaxation during labor.
  • Additionally, doulas play a crucial role in advocating for the preferences and desires of the birthing person, ensuring that their voice is heard and their choices respected within the healthcare system. This advocacy can be particularly valuable in settings where individuals may feel disempowered or marginalized.

Beyond childbirth, doulas often provide postpartum support, assisting new parents with breastfeeding, newborn care, and emotional adjustment to parenthood. This comprehensive approach to perinatal care contributes to improved maternal and infant outcomes, as well as enhanced family well-being.

While the use of doulas remains more common in certain demographic groups and geographic areas, efforts to increase access to doula services and integrate them into mainstream maternity care continue to grow. As the benefits of doula support become increasingly recognized and valued, it is likely that their prevalence will continue to rise, enriching the childbirth experience for families around the world.