This is a paid piece from Transitions: Doula and Life Services.

Simplified: Giving birth is one of most significant life events a person can go through, but many parents struggle through the postpartum period not knowing exactly what they need but knowing they need help. That's where a postpartum doula comes in.

Why it matters

  • A postpartum doula provides care to the entire family after a baby is born – doing everything from sanitizing baby bottles to entertaining older children to making sure the birthing parent gets a chance to take a shower or eat a meal.
  • Doula support – both during birth and postpartum – improves health outcomes for both parents and children. Research shows that about 1 in 7 people who give birth experience some sort of postpartum mood disorder like depression or anxiety, co-owner Renee Forred said.
  • Transitions: Doula and Life Services has a mission to make a difference in one person's life at a time to ultimately build a stronger community. In practice, it means the business offers unbiased support and resource-driven local wisdom to help people through all of life's transitions, founder Kelsie Thomas said.
"To be able to meet you where you're at in your most vulnerable time makes all the difference," Thomas said. "You have no choice but to transform, and we are going to set your family up for success in doing that."

What is a doula?

A doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional and informational support for their clients before, during and after childbirth.

"It's a very intimate space to be invited into, and we're so honored to be able to do that," Forred said.

Doulas do not give medical advice or diagnoses, and they also do not perform medical procedures or make decisions for patients.

Tell me more about Transitions

Thomas graduated from USD with a degree in health science in 2015 and began studying to be a doula, shortly after her mother died from cancer.

  • That loss helped her realize her calling as a support person, and she began practicing as a doula offering birth, postpartum and end-of-life care.
  • Within a couple years, she and Forred, a social worker in Sioux Falls, began working together as backup for one another as needed.

In 2021, the two women decided to make their partnership official, and they expanded Transitions into a team in which doulas work together to ensure clients needs are met.

So, what does a postpartum doula do?

It truly depends on the needs of the person and family they're working with.

For parent Rebecca Corsi, a postpartum doula was an important part of her postpartum support system.

  • Corsi's now-5-year-old spent about a month in the neonatal intensive care unit, and so when she found out she was pregnant with her second child, she wanted to make sure she was better-equipped to take care of not only her newborn, but also herself.
  • Corsi was also experiencing her second birth after having just moved to Sioux Falls from California, and she sought out Forred as a postpartum doula to be a part of her support system locally.
"I feel as though she was very in tune with what I needed even before I needed it myself," Corsi said. "I'd walk by the kitchen sink, and all the bottles would be magically washed, sterilized and put away."

Parent Jessica Mortensen sought postpartum doula support for her second child because after experiencing postpartum anxiety after her first child's birth, she wanted a broader support system the second time around.

  • Mortensen said the most important role a postpartum doula played in her life was simply being there as emotional support. It was beneficial to have someone to ask how she was doing, what she needed, and even to suggest reaching out for more intensive mental health support.
"When anxiety happens, all those mundane daily routine things that you have to get through, they just seem like a mountain that you have to climb," Mortensen said. "So having (a doula) here, she did so much for us."

How do I find a postpartum doula?

You can start by checking out the team at Transitions.

  • They offer postpartum doula packages starting at 20 hours of support to use at your discretion.

You can also try out their "Doula on Demand" services with availability updated weekly.