Doula! The Ultimate Birth Companion
Produced by Alto Films, Ltd.

[2010, 60 minutes, DVD. Subtitled in English, French and German.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 96, Winter 2010/2011, © 2010, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Toni Rakestraw.]

Doula! The Ultimate Birth Companion is broken down into two parts: the first 50 minutes deal with three births attended by three different doulas in the UK and the last 10 minutes cover postpartum doulas. You get to meet each doula and each couple, then see how they work together during the birth. Two lovely home waterbirths show how well the doulas integrate with the midwives in caring for the laboring couple. The last birth starts at home, but ends up transporting to the hospital for what eventually becomes a cesarean. The doula helps the couple understand what is happening, and helps them deal with the loss of their initial dream labor afterward.

The postpartum doula film shows what postpartum doulas can do for a new family: give the mother time for herself or with the baby while the doula cleans the house, entertains the older children and helps them adjust to their new family member. This is a wonderful film to introduce the concept of doulas to parents-to-be, and would be useful in childbirth education classes or to have on loan for parents during the prenatal period. I know that some midwives fill this role in homebirths, but some would no doubt appreciate the extra help and support.

Reviewer Toni Rakestraw, mother of eight children, was once a practicing birth doula. Now she spends her time writing, editing and creating birth art. She’s happy to accept editing and art projects. You may contact her at

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