Supporting New Families

Doulas are the Difference!

What is a doula

The word ‘doula’ in Ancient Greek means ‘servant to women.’ In modern culture, we interpret that as ‘mothering the mother.’ A doula is a non-medical professional who supports women and families throughout the rite of passage into and through early parenthood.


At Birthways, we define doula care as ‘filling the gap in maternal and infant care. The skill of the doula is in meeting the right need at the right time.’ Our doulas provide continuous support to hopeful, expectant, birthing, and parenting people as they navigate the twists and turns, joys and challenges, hopes and realities throughout this exciting time of change.


Doulas share knowledge and bring non-judgmental, continuous care to the entire family unit by supporting practical needs of the body, home, partnership, siblings and baby. Doulas also hold space for, and resource the more subtle emotional and mental overwhelm that this transition into parenthood often brings.


Why hire a Birthways doula

As a premier doula agency in the Chicago area, Birthways has a unique evidence-based model of care with deep roots in mindfulness and relationship-centered caregiving, supporting the entire transition into parenthood. Our Founder is committed to building models that improve systems for greater equity and access to care that supports both the caregiver and careseeker.


Our village-like approach offers tailored options to meet families’ various needs, including but not limited to group and private childbirth education, prenatal and birth support, daytime and overnight postpartum doula care, and lactation services. 


We hire employees, not just contractors, who are not only fully vetted, but also committed to the professional and holistic approach to care which has been our standard since 1997. We believe in supporting our caregivers who support our families, offering them employee benefits, full training and on-boarding experience, scholarship for the first mindfulness based First Year Specialist Postpartum Doula training and certification program, in house 1:1 and group mentorship, community events and ongoing educational opportunities.


In a recent study, Birthways surveyed over 100 care seekers.  The themes show the importance of having care. 

  • 53% were first time parents. 2nd time parents described their positive experiences with care or their regrets that they underestimated the need for support the first time around. 
  • 28% of parents were planning to have labor support as well as postpartum support.  
  • 47% experienced anxiety and felt reassured by having a doula.
  • Nearly 68% knew that getting restorative sleep was a care priority for them.


Our Birthways doulas and community partners specialize in areas to support physical, mental, emotional and energetic well-being. Historically through today, we have doulas on staff who are also nurses, sleep consultants, massage therapists, reiki practitioners, midwives, trauma informed providers, mindfulness coaches and meditation teachers etc. We are often working in community with one another to ensure families are receiving the best care for their individual needs. We also have an entire team of IBCLC’s (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) on staff who team with our doulas to ensure consistency and quality of care for the feeding journey. 


At Birthways, we believe there is no one way to conceive, birth, welcome or raise a baby- except the way each family uniquely experiences it! It is an honor to be a part of a family’s journey into parenthood!


When to hire a doula

It is normal to not know what we don’t know, and many families contact Birthways unsure when to hire a doula. The truth is that families come to us when exploring care options prior to conception, at the end of the first trimester, throughout the second trimester, days and weeks before their estimated due date and with urgent needs postpartum. We recommend booking care by 27 weeks so we can align families with the best provider.


How to hire a doula

We want families to feel like they have the best care for all of their needs. 

  • Our Care Coordination team seamlessly begins your care journey with an initial intake conversation to get to know you and understand what amazing care looks and feels like. 
  • We support you in completing our Care Request Form to gather the remainder of the details. 
  • From there, we work through our matching process to introduce you to a doula or team of doulas to have an initial visit prior to booking. 
  • Most of the time there is a great connection and you are ready to move to contract securing care with them. 
  • Shall you want to explore another doula connection, we are happy to rematch you for a comparison initial visit. 
  • You get to feel empowered in building the care team for your experience!
  • Once your doula(s) is booked, we confirm the schedule together and deliver you exceptional support throughout your care journey- within both the coordination and direct care you receive.

What our clients say:

We had a wonderful experience working with Sonrisa as our postpartum doula. She was reliable, trustworthy, kind, patient, flexible, and knowledgeable. It was so helpful having someone with experience to ask questions and learn about how to care for an infant. She has a warm & gentle presence which is perfect for the tender and vulnerable first months of being with a new baby. I highly recommend Birthways and Sonrisa! -Nicole T.


If you are looking for a doula, Birthways is the best choice! We had our first son in September 2023 and the experience we had with our doula pair (Megan and Brit) was absolutely incredible. My husband and I would have been lost without these two! They were super responsive prior to labor and still help out even after our service ended! During labor, there wasn’t a moment that they left my side, and my labor was very long! They helped ensure I was taken care of when we were at the hospital when there was confusion or I started to get anxious. Also, they are so knowledgeable about labor and ways to get baby into the right position to move things along! Logistically, they could not have been better and truly exceeded all expectations, but they also were just such wonderful people. My husband and I were so grateful we decided to go with Birthways as it truly made our experience incredible and empowering!! Thank you Megan and Brit! We will certainly be coming back for baby #2!


Not only were our doulas fantastic, but the other staff were amazing as well! Trying to get this claim submitted through insurance was challenging given they kept coming back with different things they needed. The team has been troopers collecting everything I needed and staying on top of things so that I could get this submitted! Thank you both! – Chelsea C.


As evidence shows and a growing number of families in Chicago and globally experience, Doulas really do make the difference in well-being for the diverse needs of mothers and families in all circumstances. We at Birthways, along with the families we support, are so grateful for the entire team of skillful, dedicated doula providers we work with! 


Founded in 1997

Not just another doula or childbirth education provider...

When you work with Birthways, you benefit from partnering with nationally recognized experts and the most experienced doula service provider in the Chicago area.