*Disclaimer: The author has significant bias in favor of the OBGYN + Midwife group supporting this initiative and has attended numerous volunteer births at local pregnancy shelters. This article is not written in an attempt to convince, persuade, or otherwise influence doulas in how they practice.*
For some families expecting a baby, childbirth may look much different than they anticipated during pregnancy. Most birthing people are surprised by at least one aspect of labor, birth, or the immediate postpartum period. Many are looking to soften around or prevent these surprises, unexpected outcomes, and/or potential traumas by hiring a doula to help guide and support the birther and any partner(s) that will be in attendance. However, some families can't find it in their budget to hire a private doula for support; others aren't even aware doulas exist before labor begins.