I recently read Birth Junkies: Labor Support and Resistance in American Birth which is available free in pdf form. Going in, I knew very little about doulas or birthing support outside of the recent american tradition of hospital based OB/GYN doctors. That changed right away as I worked through this ~100 page anthropological investigation.
Much of what I discovered related to how the current title of doula is a recent invention and is one that describes a role that traditionally was filled by the elder woman in a community a birthing mother was a part of and that hospital and medical based births are a relatively recent concept. I also learned about challenges that doulas face in the current climate of medicated births and how they work to help birthing mothers.
After finishing this, I’m convinced that a doula is someone that every birthing mother should have.