Doula, from the Greek doul, meaning servant-woman, slave, is the name given to modern-day birth support partners. Doulas act as ‘mothers supporting mothers’, an experienced lay-person accompanying the mother (and her partner) during her pregnancy, birth and subsequent life with a new baby. In the past this role has been undertaken by family or friends, when birth was less medicalised and women gave birth at home or surrounded by female supporters. As the process of birth was taken into the hospital, the need for support partners was undermined and forgotten. In recent years, the importance of birth support partners - people who can help focus, calm and be present at all times – has been recognised and the role of the ‘doula’ has emerged.