Parents

58 Stunning Photos That Show The Bond Between Moms And Doulas

These images capture the amazing bond between moms and doulas.
03/24/2016 11:45am ET | Updated March 24, 2016

For many parents, birth doulas are beacons of calming encouragement who enhance the labor, delivery and postpartum experience in incomparable ways.

An ancient Greek word for female servant, "doula" today refers to a trained helper who aids laboring mothers by providing expertise and emotional support and advocating for their birth needs and desires.

In honor of World Doula Week, here are 58 incredible photos of doulas in action in the U.S. and beyond, along with captions from the photographers who witnessed the magic.

1
<a href="http://www.bjornahoen.com/" target="_blank">Bjorna Hoen Photography</a>
"One of the most wonderful doulas there is!"
2
<a href="http://www.lovebykristaevansphotography.com/" target="_blank">Love by Krista Evans Photography</a>
"Her voice grounds you to the present, centers you, supports you and encourages you to surrender."
3
<a href="http://www.chelsphoto.com/" target="_blank">Chelsey Photography</a>
"The doula in the photo also serves in the National Guard. When she got the call that the mother was in labor, she left drill to be at her side, and didn't have time to change out of her uniform."
4
<a href="http://www.nolabirthphotographer.com/" target="_blank">NOLA Birth Photographer</a>
"A doula in training witnessing the power of this mother in labor."
5
<a href="http://www.is-photography.net/" target="_blank">Isabell Steinert Photography</a>
"In the Philippines, community is a big cultural value, and I love witnessing how a team of midwives, doula and family members come together to support the woman in labor."
6
<a href="http://www.birthisbeautifulbyina.com/" target="_blank">Birth Is Beautiful By Ina</a>
"A gentle Cesarean. The doula is using essential oils to help mom relax and better cope with nausea. Doulas are a great support for families needing C-sections, before, during and after the cesarean."
7
<a href="http://www.santacruzbirthphotography.com/" target="_blank">Santa Cruz Birth Photography</a>
"This mama had the support of her husband and doula as she welcomed her third daughter."
8
<a href="http://www.chandawilliams.com/#!birth/clly" target="_blank">Chanda Williams</a>
"This doula, Djifa Jones, has just arrived at her client's home on the day of her baby's birth. She would support her client for another 12 hours before her baby girl was born."
9
<a href="http://www.lovebykristaevansphotography.com/" target="_blank">Love by Krista Evans Photography</a>
"This stunning mama braces herself through transition contractions, almost ready to meet her sweet baby. Her doula, not leaving her side, calms and steadies her all the while knowing she will be holding her baby in her arms soon."
10
<a href="http://www.angelinalopezphotography.com/" target="_blank">Angelina Lopez Photography & Birth Services</a>
"Sometimes just being quietly present is more than enough support."
11
<a href="http://www.recordisfotografia.com/" target="_blank">Aldrina Valenzuela Rojas/Re-cordis Fotografía</a>
"In Venezuela most of the births occur in the OR -- that's why the doulas are wearing scrubs."
12
<a href="http://www.birthblessingsphotography.com/" target="_blank">Birth Blessings Photography</a>
"Let the tears flow."
13
<a href="http://joomattos.wix.com/julianamatos" target="_blank">Juliana Matos -- Fotografia de Parto</a>
This photo was taken at a birth in Brazil.
14
<a href="http://www.photosbylei.com./" target="_blank">Leilani Rogers</a>
"While this mother unleashes her power in the final moments before baby comes, her doula tenderly holds her hand."
15
<a href="http://herasgift.com/" target="_blank">Vicki Beauchamp/Hera's Gift</a>
"This was an HBAC, home birth after cesarean. Her first birth did not go as planned and for her second birth she was determined to do everything possible to have a better experience. During the pushing phase, she received amazing encouragement, telling her she is strong and capable."
16
<a href="http://bonnielehr.com/" target="_blank">Bonnie Bee Photography</a>
"While doulas are providing physical support and comfort measures to the laboring mother they also can be a calming presence and provide emotional support to the entire family."
17
<a href="http://www.photosbylei.com./" target="_blank">Leilani Rogers</a>
"I love the way the doula is mirroring Mama in this image, just being in the moment with her."
18
<a href="http://heathergallagherphotography.com/" target="_blank">Heather Gallagher Photography</a>
"The attentive doula assists mother and baby in nursing."
19
<a href="http://www.bonniehussey.com/" target="_blank">Bonnie Hussey</a>
"This was the third time the mom, doula, and myself walked around the neighborhood. Mom’s contractions were getting stronger and much closer together and she was getting closer to transition."
20
<a href="http://www.bonniehussey.com/" target="_blank">Bonnie Hussey</a>
"Mom was close to birthing her baby. The warm water on her back, and her husband applying counter pressure helped make mom more comfortable during contractions."
21
<a href="http://www.lovebykristaevansphotography.com/" target="_blank">Love by Krista Evans Photography</a>
"As a doula, one of the sweetest moments of birth is when you gaze upon that fresh baby for the first time. You have imagined what that little babe was going to look like for so long."
22
<a href="http://www.recordisfotografia.com/" target="_blank">Aldrina Valenzuela Rojas/Re-cordis Fotografía</a>
Home birth in Venezuela.
23
<a href="http://www.angelinalopezphotography.com/" target="_blank">Angelina Lopez Photography & Birth Services</a>
"This mother submitted to the birth process so beautifully, with her wonderful doula by her side."
24
<a href="http://www.photoartbyjessica.com/" target="_blank">Photo Art By Jessica</a>
"Mom's labor was very quick and intense. We arrived at the birth center and her beautiful babe was born less than 30 minutes later. She relied heavily on the strength of her doula to help her through her intense contractions."
25
<a href="http://www.nikkilearva.com/" target="_blank">Nikki Lea</a>
"You are not alone."
26
<a href="http://www.photoartbyjessica.com/" target="_blank">Photo Art By Jessica</a>
"Mom's doula was helping her through a series of contractions that were coming right on top of each other, explaining that squatting down into the contraction might help ease it up a bit and allow her body to work with it. Through the toughest part of her labor she had continual support of her birth team, relying heavily on her doula."
27
<a href="http://www.littlewondersphoto.com/" target="_blank">Little Wonders Photography</a>
"Attending a birth where doula support is involved never ceases to amaze me. The skilled way in which a doula is able to remind a woman of her own power with just a touch, a word, or a look is an incredible thing to witness."
28
<a href="http://www.lovebykristaevansphotography.com/" target="_blank">Love by Krista Evans Photography</a>
"An amazing doula lovingly looks at this sweet girl for the first time in her daddy's arms and so many emotions are running through her, not only are these her clients, but also her close friends. The feeling is so overwhelming."
29
<a href="http://www.lovebykristaevansphotography.com/" target="_blank">Love by Krista Evans Photography</a>
"As labour intensifies this mama holds on tightly to her doula and they slow dance in the hall, breathing together in perfect unison. She is her safe space."
30
<a href="http://www.amandajacksonphoto.com/" target="_blank">Amanda Jackson Photography</a>
"This mama had such a powerful birth team that consisted of her husband, sister, midwives and doula. The support was astounding; it truly does take a village."
31
<a href="http://www.ashleyderrphotography.com/" target="_blank">Ashley Derr</a>
"Extra comfort and reassurance that your body can handle birth."
32
<a href="http://www.blogalacart.com/" target="_blank">Ashley Weeks Cart</a>
"Helping mom and baby find a comfortable position and latch shortly after birth to begin their breastfeeding journey."
33
<a href="http://www.brittanybrooksphotography.com/" target="_blank">Brittany Brooks Photography</a>
"Moments before her baby is born, mom takes a moment to focus during an intense contraction assisted by her doula and husband. "
34
<a href="http://www.photosbylei.com./" target="_blank">Leilani Rogers</a>
"A doula helps siblings understand what's happening and how they can support their mama in the birth tub."
35
<a href="http://www.recordisfotografia.com/" target="_blank">Aldrina Valenzuela Rojas/Re-cordis Fotografía</a>
Doula-assisted birth in Venezuela.
36
<a href="http://www.ashtonreneephoto.com/" target="_blank">Ashton Renee Photography</a>
A baby-wearing doula assists a mother.
37
<a href="http://www.jnsphotographs.com/" target="_blank">JNS Photography</a>
"Surrounded by love and the support of her doula (who happens to be her best friend), husband and midwife, she finds her inner strength and brings her daughter into the world peacefully."
38
<a href="http://www.lemaephotography.com/" target="_blank">Le'Mae Photography</a>
"The calm before the most intense, beautiful, emotional moment in your life. When you don't think you can do it anymore but your doula is there to say that you can and you are."
39
<a href="http://www.jopricephotography.com/" target="_blank">Jo Price Photography</a>
"A doula supports mom in the kitchen as labor picks up."
40
<a href="http://joomattos.wix.com/julianamatos" target="_blank">Juliana Matos -- Fotografia de Parto</a>
Doula at a C-section birth in Brazil.
41
<a href="http://www.laceybarrattphotography.com/" target="_blank">Lacey Barratt Photography</a>
"Mama had just given birth moments prior, and mum dad and doula sat down to soak in baby. It was a glorious moment of all that hard work. It was a reflective and celebratory moment."
42
<a href="http://www.santacruzbirthphotography.com/" target="_blank">Santa Cruz Birth Photography</a>
"One of the greatest things a laboring women can feel during labor is love and support."
43
<a href="http://www.laylafaithphotography.com/" target="_blank">Layla Faith Photography</a>
"Time to let mom get out of the pool so we can try nursing!"
44
<a href="http://www.littlewondersphoto.com/" target="_blank">Little Wonders Photography</a>
"The birth of her first child left this mom feeling defeated and without choices. She decided to hire a doula for her second birth."
45
<a href="http://www.michellelynnphotographicartist.com/" target="_blank">Michelle Lynn Photographic Artist</a>
"Centering might just be the only thing that a doula can do to help a mother. As this doula places one finger on the mom's third eye chakra she centers her into her focus."
46
<a href="http://www.recordisfotografia.com/" target="_blank">Aldrina Valenzuela Rojas/Re-cordis Fotografía</a>
"C-section rates in Venezuela are super high (70 to 90 percent) -- that's why their work as doulas supporting mammas to have vaginal births are very important."
47
<a href="http://www.bedheadbirth.com/" target="_blank">Nikki Williams</a>
"In the final hours of a long and intense HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) journey that ultimately inspired both women to become professional doulas themselves."
48
<a href="http://www.paulinasplechta.com/" target="_blank">Paulina Splechta South Florida Birth Photographer</a>
"A busy delivery room: keep me focused."
49
<a href="http://www.paulinasplechta.com/" target="_blank">Paulina Splechta South Florida Birth Photographer</a>
"Laboring mother surrounded by her doulas: electrifying joy."
50
<a href="http://www.paulinasplechta.com/" target="_blank">Paulina Splechta South Florida Birth Photographer</a>
"A mother's hands holding onto the support of a doula: I trust you, hold me through this wave."
51
<a href="http://www.sarahboccolucci.com/" target="_blank">Sarah Boccolucci</a>
"Doula Sarah Mills helping her client relax prior to her Caesarean birth."
52
<a href="http://www.carolinaleipnitzfotografia.com/" target="_blank">Carolina Leipnitz Fotografia</a>
Hands clutched during a water birth in Brazil.
53
<a href="http://www.welcomebabykc.com/" target="_blank">Welcome Baby KC</a>
"A doula is like a trail guide. Familiar with the path, she keeps you hiking through the hard parts, knowing the view at the end is incredible." -- Mother Strong Doula
54
<a href="http://littleleapling.com/" target="_blank">Little Leapling Photography</a>
"Just moments after being placed on her mother's chest, the excitement is felt by all. After over 12 hours side by side, this connection between mother and doula is absolutely heartwarming."
55
<a href="http://www.carolinaleipnitzfotografia.com/" target="_blank">Carolina Leipnitz Fotografia</a>
Doula assists mom during a birth in Brazil.
56
<a href="http://www.nolabirthphotographer.com/" target="_blank">NOLA Birth Photographer</a>
"Doula Kimberly Davis applies counter pressure during the mother's contraction while a nurse checks the baby's heart rate."
57
<a href="http://www.samanthanoelphotography.com/" target="_blank">Samantha Noel Photography</a>
"The laboring mother was nearing transition, her body took over, they turned off her Pitocin and she labored naturally with the help of her awesome doula and husband."
58
<a href="http://www.chicagobirthandbabystories.com/" target="_blank">Chicago Birth & Baby Stories</a>
"This photograph shows the doula continuing support after baby is born. Postpartum support from doulas is very common, and moms appreciate it greatly."
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