Doulas are trained professionals who provide personalized emotional, physical, and informational support before, during, and after the birth of your child. At Swedish, your caring, compassionate doula is a steady, reassuring presence who works alongside nurses, midwives and doctors as part of your care team.
Doula services at Swedish are tailored to meet your needs whether you are an expecting or new parent. To start the process of hiring a doula or to find out more information, please fill out our intake form, or call our office at 206-215-6106 and our coordinator will be in touch with you shortly.
For providers and referring clinics seeking to refer your perinatal or urgent patients, or for bereavement support, please visit our referrals page.
Our Birth Doulas are focused on supporting you to have the best possible pregnancy, birth, and early parenting experience.
- Before birth – the doula will meet with you 1-2 times to help you prepare for your birth. The doula can provide guidance on what to pack for your hospital stay, help you clarify your birth preferences, and walk you through labor. Your doula is then available to you by phone or email with any questions you may have about preparations for birth.
- During labor – Your doula will come to your home to reassure you and help determine when to leave for the hospital, based on your medical provider’s recommendations.
- At the hospital – Your doula will stay with you for your entire labor and help you feel calm, comfortable and confident as your birth unfolds. Doulas are specially trained in providing comfort and relaxation techniques, positions for labor progress, and emotional and informational support when decisions are made along the way.
- At home – When you and your baby are at home, your doula will visit to discuss postpartum recovery, feeding challenges, sleep issues and overall adjustment. Until your baby is one month old, your doula is also available by phone and email to answer any questions you have.
You have the option to choose either an Apprentice Birth Doula or an Experienced Birth Doula and the cost varies with experience.
Swedish apprentice doulas have completed a doula training course and receive mentorship from experienced Swedish doulas who have been with our team for years. Apprentice doulas are supported and evaluated and expected to demonstrate the same competencies as experienced doulas on the team.
Experienced Swedish Birth Doulas have developed their skills over time by attending a diverse range of birthing experiences with families. Experienced doulas on our team are expected to not only demonstrate competent care, they are regularly also evaluated by families and expected to engage in continuing education to deepen their knowledge.
We are able to provide free doula support to a limited number of low income birthing people each month. Active enrollment in Medicaid/Molina/Apple Health is required to be eligible. To inquire about free doula care, please complete our request form.
At Swedish, we understand the joys and challenges during the months after a new baby arrives. Our Postpartum Doulas provide practical in-home care to create a strong foundation for you, your baby, and your entire family.
Swedish Postpartum Doulas tailor services based on your needs. In-home visits are typically four hours during the daytime and eight hours overnight. Our services may include:
- Assisting in your healing and recovery from labor and birth
- Demonstrating techniques for soothing and caring for your baby
- Caring for the baby/babies so you can sleep
- Guiding and supporting breastfeeding/chestfeeding, milk expression, and bottle feeding
- Developing family sleep strategies
- Providing emotional support as the family adjusts
- Recognizing signs of postpartum health and mood changes and offering resources
- Assisting with care plans recommended by medical practitioners
- Doing laundry, dishwashing and light housekeeping
- Preparing nourishing meals
You have the option to choose either an Apprentice Postpartum Doula, an Experienced Postpartum Doula, or an Advanced Postpartum Doula and the cost varies with experience.
Swedish Apprentice Postpartum Doulas have completed a doula training course and have completed all standard requirements for our program. Swedish Apprentice Postpartum Doulas receive mentorship from Swedish Advanced Postpartum Doulas.
Swedish Experienced Postpartum Doulas have worked with at least five families. Many have years of experience and engage in continuing education to maintain their knowledge and skills. Some Experienced Postpartum Doulas offer specialized services such as placenta encapsulation, advanced lactation education, and sleep coaching.
Swedish Advanced Postpartum Doulas have considerable experience in their field and have supported a diverse spectrum of families through many unique experiences. Many of our Advanced Postpartum Doulas offer specialized services such as placenta encapsulation, advanced lactation education and sleep coaching. In addition, some of these doulas teach classes to other doulas.
We are able to provide free doula support to a limited number of low income families each month. Active enrollment in Medicaid/Molina/Apple Health is required to be eligible. To inquire about free doula care, please complete our request form.
Bereavement Doulas provide support for families expecting the loss of their baby or whose baby has a condition that results in an uncertain outcome after birth. Swedish offers specially trained doulas who can be with you through this experience.
Bereavement Doula service is provided at no cost to you and your family. Gifts from other families to the Swedish Foundation provide funding. Services include:
- Discussing your preferences and wishes for delivery and immediately after the birth
- Being with you at the hospital during the birth of the baby
- Holding space for the full range of emotions that you might experience
- Sharing approaches that other families have found helpful when faced with similar circumstances
- Supporting you at the hospital after your baby is born
- Delivering a meal to share after you get home
- Meeting with you to process and check in, up to five times after the birth
- Connecting you with other helpful resources
- Providing phone and email support for up to a year
You can accept or decline any of these services at any time.
To find out more information, or to request a bereavement Doula please call our office at 206-215-6106 and our coordinator will be in touch with you shortly.
BBEI (pronounced “Bay”) is a component of the Swedish Doula Program that seeks to honor Black lives by centering and uplifting the Black birth experience with culturally congruent doula care for us and by us.
BBEI was created to address the disparities in the black community including disproportionately higher prenatal complications, stillbirths, postpartum complications, and increased mortality rates for both the mother and child.
For our community:
- Please see the important community centered birth justice work that Swedish is doing through the Just Birth Network
For our Black/African-American clients at all Swedish Birth Centers – First Hill, Issaquah and Edmonds:
- We see YOU
- You have the option of a doula that looks like you to provide prenatal, birth, and postpartum care
- Postpartum care packages available with touchpoints tailored specifically to Black/African-American clients for the 42 days following birth
- Community resources and Questions to Ask Your Provider created for our Black/African-Clients
For our Black/African-American Doulas:
- Black doulas have and are entitled to a safe space within this program and you have someone who is 100% for you
- Any Black doula that chooses to come work with the Swedish Doula Program will be coming into the community of Black doulas we have
- Mentorship available through our Affinity Team centered around our ancestral work that we are called to do, not what White America has defined as doula work
- Group therapy provided to the Black/African-American doulas for a healthy debrief process
- BBEI has an Affinity Team made up of Black/African-American doulas and allies that meets regularly to create community for African-American doulas in the Swedish Doula Program and help realize the BBEI mission
Swedish Doula Services utilizes a secure software called MindBody to collect payment and manage scheduling. Please click here to pay for Doula services. Please note that the online payment system only processes payments in full. If you are interested in setting up a payment plan, please call the Swedish Doula Services office. With a payment plan, the last payment is due two weeks before your due date. Thank you for hiring a Swedish doula!
All Swedish doulas are independent contractors. As a contracted service, the Swedish Doula Program maintains an important level of independence while also upholding the standards required both by the Swedish Doula Program and the Swedish Providence network of contracted caregivers.
The Swedish Doula Program is a non-profit program within the larger non-profit hospital system. 75% of the fee you pay goes directly to the doula providing care, the other 25% is split between the costs to administer the program and funds to provide free doula care for low-income families. The independently contracted doulas who work within the Swedish Doula Program value the ability to make this contribution to families in the community who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford doula care. The program is proud to be completely self-funded in order to provide sustainable support.
All of our doulas must complete the following:
- Completion of a reputable Birth, Postpartum, or Full Spectrum Doula training
- Attend regular continuing education and hospital simulation trainings
- Washington State Background check and have National Provider Identities
- Carry liability insurance
- Uphold the Swedish/Providence vaccination standards
- Ongoing client evaluations and annual reviews with our admin team
In addition, our Postpartum Doulas are required to have:
- Current Infant CPR certification
- Current Washington state food handlers training if they will be offering meal preparation
The doula program has built a diverse team of doulas to reflect the diverse population of birthing families at Swedish.
The doulas speak many different languages including (but not limited to) Spanish, Somali, Amharic, Chinese-Mandarin, English, French, German, Oromo, Polish, Portuguese, Arabic, Swahili, and Tigrinya.
Coming from a number of different races and ethnicities, the doulas are often helpful in bridging racial, cultural or language differences that may be present. The program also houses the Black Birth Empowerment Initiative, which honors Black lives by centering and uplifting the Black birth experience with culturally congruent doula care. In addition, the doula program conducts ongoing trainings and discussion for our white doulas in cultural humility, white privilege, and anti-racism.
A doula does not count as a visitor or extra support person. A patient may have three support people plus a doula. Doulas are allowed in the operating room for a cesarean (C-section) with regional anesthesia, in addition to one support person such as a spouse or partner. Doulas are also allowed to remain in the room in addition to a support person during placement of an epidural and during recovery after a C-section. These policies apply to both doulas contracted with Swedish and those who are not.
- The doula’s knowledge of birth complements the partner’s knowledge of the birthing person.
- Doulas help partners be the best support they can be.
- Doulas know their way around the hospital.
- Doulas speak the language of labor.
- Doulas can give partners a break.
- Doulas keep partners calm so they can experience childbirth to its fullest.
In order to apply to join the Swedish doula team, doulas must take an initial independent birth, postpartum, or full spectrum doula training that prepares them to support clients. A list of our recommended trainings and scholarship application can be found on our diversity scholarship page.
Some of the benefits of joining the Swedish doula team include:
- Steady referrals to clients
- Access to back-up partners
- Continuing education contact hours required for a doula’s periodic re-certification
Swedish-contracted independent doulas also receive a badge identifying them as independent contractors that allows them to utilize staff entrances and areas in the hospital. Hiring rounds are held 1-2 times per year. If you are interested in joining the Swedish doula team, please email us.
Providers Specializing in Doula Services
At Swedish, you'll have access to a vast network of dedicated and compassionate providers who offer personalized care by focusing on treatment, prevention and health education.
Doula Patient Testimonials
"Our Swedish doula was a perfect addition to our team and very much empowered my husband to be a great birthing partner and also enjoy the process by relieving a good deal of pressure off of him. We were so thankful to have her with us and highly recommend her to anyone! Worth every penny."
"This was a great experience for me from start to finish. I now highly recommend doulas to people who are expecting and feel extra fortunate to have had access to the Swedish Doula Program. Having doulas vetted and being able to touch base with the program coordinator as first steps to this process made it easy and not daunting, which is how I felt when initially looking at doulas on my own."
“My Swedish doula provided support that I didn't even know I needed. She took the pressure off feeling like my husband and I had to figure out labor alone. Our doula knew when to make suggestions or offer advice that we greatly benefited from. No part of the experience felt overwhelming because I always felt like I had options provided to me and was in capable hands.”
“Our Swedish doula was absolutely amazing. During my pregnancy, she was there to answer any questions I had and she checked on me frequently. I wanted to labor unmedicated for as long as possible and she definitely helped me get as far as I did. Even after having the epidural, her presence was pivotal in my labor progressing. I can't sing her praises high enough.”
“I was hesitant to hire a doula but my husband convinced me since our goal was a med-free birth. It was the best decision we made! The best part of having a Swedish doula present was that it empowered me and freed my husband to be present for the birth in his own way. This was invaluable! I have already recommended Swedish and the Swedish Doula service to others. I'm a convert!”
“Our Swedish doula was so professional and also very caring. She took much of the stress out of anticipating the birth. Having her coach us through coping mechanisms and having her patient and guiding hands during the delivery was a huge help to both me and my husband. It was nice knowing that the doulas had been vetted through Swedish and that they are matched with the needs of each couple.”
“Our doula was incredible. The doctor and nurses were primarily concerned about our baby and the labor process, however our doula was able to focus on what I needed and assist in making sure my needs were met as well as keep me motivated and confident throughout my labor. I always felt supported with my doula by my side and I was able to have the birth experience I wanted because of her.”
“I planned on delivering at Swedish Ballard and was considering hiring a doula. Once I was informed that Swedish had their own doula program I thought I would give them a try. I'm glad I did! My delivery at Swedish Ballard with my doula made my birth experience a great one! I could not have obtained my goal of natural childbirth without her. As a first time mother it was so nice to have the additional support during and after labor.”
How You Can Help
To help low-income patients benefit from a doula, Swedish has established a fund to provide doula support free of charge. The Swedish Doula Program dedicates all proceeds above administrative costs to this fund. Donate to provide doula care for a low-income family.
All contributions are tax-deductible and 100% of your donation goes to fund doula services for a family that would not be able to afford it on their own. Learn more about our program to provide doula support to low-income patients.