Birth doulas, as a non-medical resource for people going through the birthing process, have seen overall positive reception by providing a service otherwise missing from the recently medicalized birth environment (Gruber et al. 2013, Steel et al. 2015); this coincides with a time when fathers are being asked to play a more active role in their child’s birth (Coltrane 1996, Odent 2009). However, while we know a little about how mothers experience the services of a birth doula and how fathers experience birth generally, we have yet to find out how birthing people, both partnered and un-partnered, make sense of the services of a birth doula and their motivations for hiring one. To address this gap in the literature, I used Qualtrics to administer an online survey to people who have used the services of a birth doula within the last five years. I found a desire for natural birth and advocacy to be prominent motivators for a doula’s services. Participants described distinct forms of emotional and physical support provided by their doula and that their doula not only provided services to their partner but also allowed for their partner to be more present during the birth. This research contributes to the social science literature by giving insight on how people understand and describe their motivations, expectations and experiences of birth doula care.


Aaron Hoy

Committee Member

Vicki Hunter

Committee Member

Eric Sprankle

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)

Program of Study

College Teaching Emphasis


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright