Chicago Volunteer Doulas - Planning for childbirth

Services in a nutshell

Free and discounted birth doula services for low income families. Chicago Volunteer Doulas provide on-call doulas at 8 Chicago-area hospitals as well as low-cost doulas to people whose families earn an income of under $50,000/year and or people who fall into a vulnerable community category.

More about us
On-Call Doula Services

Our doulas participate in a monthly on-call calendar to provide support to people who deliver with the midwifery groups of 8 different Chicago hospitals:

  • Swedish Covenant Hospital,
  • St. Mary’s Hospital,
  • Illinois Masonic Medical Center,
  • UIC Medical Center,
  • Mercy Hospital,
  • PCC Wellness Birth Center,
  • the PCC Wellness group out of West Suburban Medical Center and
  • St. Anthony Hospital.

If you are planning to deliver at one of these hospitals with the midwives or with doctors at PCC or Esperanza Health Center, you can be attended by a volunteer doula, if one is available. If you are delivering with another OB at one of these hospitals or at another hospital, you can consider using a traditional birth doula through us.

The calendar is divided into two 12-hour shifts from 7am – 7pm and 7pm -7am daily, with 1-2 doulas on-call each shift. The midwives and the doulas are always in contact with each other to determine when a doula is needed. If there is someone in labor who requests a doula and there is one available, the doula will head to the hospital and attend to that person.

The doula will either stay for the entire labor and delivery or will call in for another doula when the shift ends. The doula will help the client during labor with all of the emotional, physical and educational support listed below. The doula will then stay with the family for 1-2 hours postpartum to help with breastfeeding and to help the client get comfortable.

Traditional Doula Services

Chicago Volunteer Doulas provide low-cost doulas to people whose families earn an income of under $50,000/year and or people who fall into a vulnerable community category on our request.

After an application is filled out, we will match the client with a primary doula and a backup doula. The doulas establishes a relationship with the pregnant person and partner/support person. They encourage them to ask questions, express fears, hopes and other feelings, and to take an active role in their labor and birth.

Our doulas work in the traditional birth model to provide support to people and their families. A doula meets with the pregnant person and their partner/support person before labor begins and helps them plan the kind of childbirth they hope to have.

When labor begins, the doula:

  • Joins you in your home until its time to go to the hospital or will meet you directly at the hospital;
  • Stays throughout the labor and delivery;
  • Remains 1-2 hours after birth to make sure client is comfortable;
  • Helps establish breastfeeding if needed;
  • Returns within the week to make sure all is going well;
  • Assists with any breastfeeding issues;
  • Talks with the family to review and celebrate the labor and delivery;
  • Remains available by phone for parental questions and concerns.

Chicago Volunteer Doulas are able to attend births at any hospital within the city limits of Chicago in addition to,

  • Evanston Hospital (Evanston),
  • West Suburban (Oak Park), Christ (Oak Lawn) and
  • the PCC Wellness Birth Center in Berwyn.

If you are delivering outside of Chicago, please contact us and we can give you a list of our doulas who work privately and they may be able to attend the birth at your local hospital. At this time, we do not provide doulas for home births.

How much does a Traditional Birth Doula cost?

We offer our services for free however we do ask for a donation to our organization. Private doulas in the Chicago area charge between $500 and $1000 per birth depending on their experience. Our doulas are volunteering their time and expertise. You can select a donation amount that is workable for your family, keeping in mind that the donation serves to help provide doulas for other clients. The donation goes towards the organization while the doula continues to work as a volunteer. Learn more.

You can request traditional doula services here
More about our doulas

A Doula Provides Support by Giving:

  • Emotional Comfort – Support and encouragement before, during and after labor and delivery
  • Physical Comfort – Relaxation and breathing techniques; massage; different positions to enhance the progress of labor and delivery; application of heat/cold and pressure points to relieve pain
  • Informational Support – Information about labor and delivery
  • Breastfeeding Support – Support for the client at the start of breastfeeding and subsequent consultations, if needed
  • Family Support – Support for the partner and/or other people to assist them in helping the client
  • Support is available in English and Spanish

Benefits of Using a Doula:

“Many scientific trials comparing doula-attended with non-doula-attended births found that the presence of the doula is associated with more favorable obstetric outcomes — fewer cesareans and instrumental deliveries and better newborn outcomes. Furthermore, studies that examined psychosocial outcomes in the mother found that the doula’s presence throughout labor is associated with such favorable postpartum outcomes as: less postpartum depression; more posititive assessments of her baby; more total breastfeeding on cue; greater satisfaction with the birth experience; enhanced self-esteem; and other benefits.”


Our team


A Chicago Volunteer Doula is a labor support professional who has chosen to commit time and energy to helping pregnant people and their families in Chicago. Our doulas come from a variety of backgrounds. They are social workers, childcare workers, cab drivers, community organizers, accountants, stay-at-home moms, midwifery students, artists, activists, nurses, lawyers, teachers, yoga instructors and massage therapists.

Our doulas celebrate different racial, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds and some are fluent in Spanish, Russian and Polish to name a few. CVD doulas include women, men and gender non-conforming or trans people, as well as members of both straight and LGBTQI communities. Some of our doulas have disabilities. No matter their background ALL of our doulas are committed to provide the best doula support to the clients they serve. If you feel you would not be comfortable receiving services from a doula who may not be from the same community as you or may have a different background we will be happy to refer you to a community based doula program or get you a list of private doulas.

All of our doulas have been trained by an accredited organization and many are certified.  Some of our doulas are new to the profession while many have been supporting mothers in childbirth for years.  Each doula has been interviewed by our administrators to ensure that they support our mission, have the necessary skills and are committed to our mission and the families we serve.


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