PARENTING
03/24/2016 11:45 am ET Updated Mar 24, 2016

58 Stunning Photos That Show The Bond Between Moms And Doulas

These images capture the amazing bond between moms and doulas.

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
    "One of the most wonderful doulas there is!"
    "One of the most wonderful doulas there is!"
  • 2
    "Her voice grounds you to the present, centers you, supports you and encourages you to surrender."
    "Her voice grounds you to the present, centers you, supports you and encourages you to surrender."
  • 3
    "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
    "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 doula in training witnessing the power of this mother in labor."
    "A doula in training witnessing the power of this mother in labor."
  • 5
    "In the Philippines, community is a big cultural value, and I love witnessing how a team of midwives, doula and family member
    "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 gentle Cesarean. The doula is using essential oils to help mom relax and better cope with nausea. Doulas are a great suppo
    "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
    "This mama had the support of her husband and doula as she welcomed her third daughter."
    "This mama had the support of her husband and doula as she welcomed her third daughter."
  • 8
    "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
    "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
    "This stunning mama braces herself through transition contractions,  almost ready to meet her sweet baby.  Her doula,  not le
    "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
    "Sometimes just being quietly present is more than enough support."
    "Sometimes just being quietly present is more than enough support."
  • 11
    "In Venezuela most of the births occur in the OR -- that's why the doulas are wearing scrubs."
    "In Venezuela most of the births occur in the OR -- that's why the doulas are wearing scrubs."
  • 12
    "Let the tears flow."
    "Let the tears flow."
  • 13
    This photo was taken at a birth in Brazil.
    This photo was taken at a birth in Brazil.
  • 14
    "While this mother unleashes her power in the final moments before baby comes, her doula tenderly holds her hand."
    "While this mother unleashes her power in the final moments before baby comes, her doula tenderly holds her hand."
  • 15
    "This was an HBAC, home birth after cesarean. Her first birth did not go as planned and for her second birth she was determin
    "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
    "While doulas are providing physical support and comfort measures to the laboring mother they also can be a calming presence
    "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
    "I love the way the doula is mirroring Mama in this image, just being in the moment with her."
    "I love the way the doula is mirroring Mama in this image, just being in the moment with her."
  • 18
    "The attentive doula assists mother and baby in nursing."
    "The attentive doula assists mother and baby in nursing."
  • 19
    "This was the third time the mom, doula, and myself walked around the neighborhood. Mom’s contractions were getting stronger
    "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
    "Mom was close to birthing her baby. The warm water on her back, and her husband applying counter pressure helped make mom mo
    "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
    "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
    "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."
  • 23
    "This mother submitted to the birth process so beautifully, with her wonderful doula by her side."
    "This mother submitted to the birth process so beautifully, with her wonderful doula by her side."
  • 24
    "Mom's labor was very quick and intense. We arrived at the birth center and her beautiful babe was born less than 30 minutes
    "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
    "You are not alone."
    "You are not alone."
  • 26
    "Mom's doula was helping her through a series of contractions that were coming right on top of each other, explaining that sq
    "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
    "Attending a birth where doula support is involved never ceases to amaze me. The skilled way in which a doula is able to remi
    "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
    "An amazing doula lovingly looks at this sweet girl for the first time in her daddy's arms and so many emotions are running t
    "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
    "As labour intensifies this mama holds on tightly to her doula and they slow dance in the hall, breathing together in perfect
    "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
    "This mama had such a powerful birth team that consisted of her husband, sister, midwives and doula. The support was astoundi
    "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."
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
15 Photos That Capture The Beauty Of Birth
CONVERSATIONS