Volunteer doulas to aid in birthing process

ADDISON COUNTY — Family members can be a great help to a woman during the birthing process, but particularly for those first-time parents who haven’t had experience with the process, the whole thing can seem daunting. Porter Medical Center is introducing a new character to the drama — a person to provide guidance and support to a pregnant woman during labor. This person is called a doula.

Doulas provide continuous assistance and comfort to patients and families with the goal of enhancing the birth experience and helping to create and maintain a supportive emotional environment, explained Alisa DeVries, RN, nurse manager at the Porter Birthing Center.

“This looks like gentle touch, position and movement suggestions, heat/cold, nutrition and hydration assistance — essentially a calm, encouraging presence,” DeVries said. 

Porter is looking for volunteers to provide this support. If you have experience being a doula and are interested in volunteering, you are asked to complete a volunteer application online at or send email to: [email protected] All doula volunteers will be required to complete a 24 hour UVM Medical Center training program that will begin in March 2023.

A person who has the ability to give support and keep the patient and family at the center of all the decisions would make an ideal doula, DeVries said. The person should be big on keeping open communication and collaboration with all the members of the birthing team. 

Doulas do not perform medical tasks nor do they dispense medical information 

“It really is mostly about being a steady presence and support to the family’s needs,” DeVries said.

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