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What is a Doula?


What is a Doula?

The following information is from my certifying organization, DONA International, the "oldest, largest and most respected doula association in the world."


The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Studies* have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.


A Birth Doula

If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.
— John H. Kennell, MD
  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth
  • Stays with the woman throughout the labor
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
  • Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level

*such as 2012, Hodnett et al. and Hofmeyr, Nikodem et al. 1991

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Who I am

Who I am

Christina Libby, CD(DONA)

My name is Christina Libby and I live with my family  in Frankfort, KY a few blocks from our Commonwealth's Capitol. I’ve been lucky enough to call Kentucky home for most of my life. My interest in pregnancy and birth began when I was a child and my love for this state deepened through my work with the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association. After studying Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Kentucky I worked for the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association for 7 years and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for 2 years. Frustratingly, even after all those years of college and work, I still felt like I was searching for my career. When I became pregnant with my son and experienced birth first hand, my passion for pregnancy & birth were reignited as I learned everything I could on the subjects. I realized that birth work is not limited to the medical professions of obstetrician, nurse, or midwife and that doulas serve an integral role in supporting people through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. The more I learned about what a doula is and the services a doula provides, the more certain I felt that I had finally found a path that would lead to a career that I not only cared about a great deal, but one that fit perfectly with my skills and personality.  After every birth I am honored to attend, my clients' and my own experiences being their doula validate my life changing decision. 

In the year's since I started work as a doula I have also become very active in the birth community. I currently serve as the President of Birth Care Network Board of Directors, Chair Person of the DONA Advocacy Sub-Committee on Legislative Action; Lead Organizer of the 2018 Kentucky March for Moms; Volunteer Coordinator for Birth Monopoly; Professional Member at Evidence Based Birth; and Advocate with the Kentucky Home Birth Coalition's campaign to license and regulate Certified Professional Midwives in the state of Kentucky. 

Christina was such a natural
— Kristen

I am certified as a Birth Doula by DONA International and have completed Birth Doula trainings by both DONA International as well as toLabor.

Birth photography by Hueit Photography by Vicky Lea and Bluegrass Birth Stories and used with permission. 

All photos of clients, partners, and babies are used with permission. 

Other photographs on this site:

Commonwealth Doula Services does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), sex, gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients. 

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My Philosophy

My Philosophy

My philosophy on pregnancy and birth is rooted in the concepts of Purpose and Respect.


Pregnancy and birth are very purposeful functions of the human body and the human experience. On a large scale, the purpose of pregnancy and birth is to prepare you to be a parent. From the specific (such as restless nights of pregnancy preparing you for the restless nights with a newborn) to the general (working on patience, decision making, how and when to give up control, etc), most aspects of birth and pregnancy are mini parenting lessons. On a smaller, physiological scale most aspects of pregnancy and birth are symptoms of purposeful actions taking place in your body. Frequent trips to the bathroom are caused by necessary hormones in the beginning of pregnancy and by providing your baby sufficient space in later pregnancy. Contractions, in general, either help your body prepare for birth or actively push the baby down. I believe that, as a parent, it is very important to see the purpose in each aspect of pregnancy and birth so that you can understand what is happening and why. That understanding is the foundation for making the best decision in any given situation.


I believe that not only should pregnancy and birth be respected as purposeful functions, but also that each individual person’s pregnancy and birth, including all the decisions they make, are to be respected. Each individual experience with pregnancy and every single birth will be different and each is valid and worthy of respect. It is important that everyone show respect to the parents’ choices, but most of all it is important that the parents themselves are able to look back on the experience and feel confident in the choices they made. The way to do that is to be an informed and active participant in the entire process. As your doula, it is my job to support you in every way possible to make that happen.