What is a Doula

“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” – John H. Kennell, MD

The word doula is of Greek origin and denotes a woman who provides care to another woman.

A doula is trained and experienced in pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding and the postpartum period. They provide basic education about childbirth and newborns. They assist the mother and her partner to identify birth preferences and advocate for herself with her care providers. A doula provides continuous labor support and reassures and supports laboring person’s partner.

A doula’s presence during childbirth helps facilitate greater autonomy and respect during decision making in the prenatal and perinatal periods.

Hiring a personal doula allows both parents support from an experienced birth professional—a beautiful, risk free and yet very beneficial addition to your birth team to assist you in your journey.

What Training Do Doulas Get?

Doulas can be trained in many ways. New York State does not currently required licensure of doulas or standardized trainings, but most doulas are certified by a local, regional, or national certifying body. Ask your doula what training and certification they hold. Catholic Health asks doulas who attend our training to be certified through a national credentialing agency – DONA or CAPPA – or take our competency exam.

Services Provided by Doulas

  • Education & Encouragement
    • Stages of pregnancy
    • Comfort measures
    • Advocacy
    • Taking an active role
  • Birth Planning
  • Work with mother & partner/support person
  • Continuous Support
    • During labor
    • Immediately postpartum
    • For scheduled C-sections
  • Pain Management Techniques
    • Breathing patterns/Forms of movement
    • Laboring positions
    • Use of birthing/peanut ball
  • Latching & Breastfeeding
  • Adjustment
  • In-Home Support
    • Hunger cues
    • Postpartum care
    • Developing a routine
    • Postpartum Depression Screening
  • Bereavement Doulas also available if needed for pregnancy and infant loss.

What Does a Doula Charge and Does Insurance Cover Doula Services?

Catholic Health does not employ doulas, doulas are privately paid professionals and the fees vary based on services provided—when hiring a doula, you will be provided with their fees. Insurance currently does not cover doula services (with the exception of Medicaid) however, flex accounts and HSAs may be used.

Erie County Medicaid will pay for doula services for Medicaid eligible Moms. Registered doulas working with Medicaid have an * next to their name.

Meet the Doulas

Lou Ann Cane

My name is Lou Ann. I have 2 children John and Sophie and have been married for 16 years to my husband John.

I worked for a midwife as an assistant both in the home and hospital setting for many years. This experience taught me so much about the natural birth process and the multitude of decisions the practitioners and patients have to make as they go through the birthing process. My studies are through Birth Arts International, as well as the OTJT with the midwife, which was invaluable.

I have spent 6 years working as a doula, provided training/teaching with the WNY Doulas group as well as private pay classes for my clients. My experience also includes being a speaker on the national stage at many pregnancy and baby events. I have attended well over 100 births and am a regular in the Catholic Health system.

The shortest birth I have ever attended was 15 minutes. The longest 3 days. I learn so much every time I attend a birth and love that the process is never the same, it keeps me on my toes. I am also a huge supporter of communication with my clients, so if they seem to ask a lot of questions, it’s because knowledge is power!


Elisabeth Carbrey, CD

Elisabeth Carbrey, CD

My passion for supporting birthing women began during my first pregnancy as I learned about the intricate design that knits together a mother and her baby. I was fascinated, and have not stopped seeking further education about the beautiful process since. My own birth experiences taught me that knowledge produces confidence, confidence produces ownership, and ownership produces satisfaction when it comes to birth, even when things don’t go according to plan. The more my family grew, the more I wanted to help other women feel as supported and satisfied in birth as I did. As a doula, I strive to help families access information and support that will allow them to make confident decisions for their births.

Writing has been an integral part of my life since adolescence, and I’m thrilled to be weaving together two of my favorite things: birth and writing. I have the great honor of being a witness to lives changing forever when babies are born, and each family I serve receives a written eyewitness account of their birth story as a keepsake. I help memorialize one of the most vulnerable yet most powerful moments a woman will experience. My goal is for women to view themselves and their birthing journeys with pride – that they’ll be able to say to another woman, “I loved giving birth, and here’s why”. Empowering women to do those things is why I’m a doula.

University of Toledo – Bachelor of Science

Birth Doula Training – Dona International


Beth Carey, CD

Beth Carey, CDBeth Carey, CD/PCD (DONA) is a DONA certified birth and postpartum doula who has provided support to women and their families in Buffalo and WNY for over 15 years. Her additional certifications and trainings include Madriella, Certified Hypnobabies ® Doula, Dancing For Birth™ and the use of acupressure, aromatherapy and rebozo during labor and birth. She is one of the co-founders and co-directors of WNY Doulas, a local doula collaborative that hosts the annual Better Birth Conference. Beth teaches prenatal movement classes and workshops at The Fountain Wellness Center. She is also a member of the Catholic Health Prenatal Education Department and teaches classes at three Catholic Health hospitals. Beth is originally from Georgia and met her husband, John, while serving in the US Air Force. They have been married for over 30 years with two daughters, three sons and one grandson. She has given birth in a military hospital and three times at home. Her last child was born at Sister’s Hospital in Buffalo.

Beth has always been interested in prenatal nutrition, pregnancy, and childbirth. Being a birth doula is one of her passions and loves supporting and educating families during their pregnancy, labor, and the transition to parenting! Her other passions are following Christ, family and friends, environmental issues, preparing healthy food, organic gardening, and making her home creative, inviting and reasonably clean!

Birth Doula Training – Dona International
Postpartum Doula Training – Dona International
Dancing for Birth™


Mary Haseltine, CD

Mary Haseltine, CD

Mary Haseltine has been certified as a birth doula since 2011 and is the author of Made for This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth. She is also the mother to seven children on earth and one in eternity.

She believes that every single woman and baby deserve to have the best possible birth through informed choices, evidence-based care, and through complete physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual support. She gave birth to five of her own babies at home and two in the hospital. She became certified as a birth doula after seeing too many women not being given the adequate information or support to have the beautiful, healthy, and positive birth experience they wanted. She has a passion for bringing the richness and beauty of the Catholic Faith into the experience of birth and motherhood. However, she is hired by and serves women of all backgrounds and faiths.

Mary has attended births as a doula at all of the greater Buffalo area hospitals, Strong Memorial, UMMC in Batavia, as well as Coit House, other birth centers, and home. She has a range of experience in natural birth, medicated birth, water birth, VBAC, cesarean birth, induction, prenatal adverse diagnosis, and complete physiological birth. She also works as a bereavement doula supporting women through miscarriage and stillbirth. It is a privilege and blessing every time a family allows her to be present at such sacred moments.

In addition to birth experience she has over fourteen years of personal breastfeeding experience and is able to help you navigate the breastfeeding journey and overcome problems that might arise. She can also answer questions about  regnancy, newborn choices and care, cloth diapering, postpartum issues, and more.

Birth Doula Training: Life Cycles
Childbirth Educator
Spinning Babies Trained
NRP Trained
Author of Made for This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth


Shannon Johns, CD*

Shannon Johns, CD

As the founder and Owner of Calming Nature Doula Center and Services, Shannon embarked on her journey as a Doula after supporting and guiding friends through their labors and deliveries. Being a mother of six, she learned that worked for her could also work for other women. Encouraging them and telling them what worked for her during her labors helped them through theirs. It wasn’t until 2014 that she officially trained with DONA and became a certified Birth Doula.

In addition to being our Childbirth Educator, Shannon also recently became an Evidence Based Birth Instructor, allowing her to present Evidence Based information and education to her community. Shannon is currently one of Catholic Health’s Prenatal Educators, and teaches a variety of classes at Sisters of Charity Hospital and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo.

Birth Doula Training – Dona International
Postpartum Doula Training
Certified Childbirth Educator


Molly McDermott*

Molly has been a doula since 2014. She trained with Life Cycles and is currently participating the DONA certification program. Molly is also approved as a doula provider through Medicaid. She has a passion for helping women to have the birth they desire. She feels that her role as a doula is to provide emotional and physical support to the laboring woman. She also supports the partner in being a vital part of the process.

Molly is a mother of two, and the experiences of her own births have led her to this path of helping other mothers. Molly is also a prenatal and postpartum yoga instructor. Yoga before and after pregnancy prepares the body and mid for birth and to heal in a safe manner. Molly is currently attending school to become a licensed Mental Health Counselor. Molly’s goal is to work with women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

In her spare time, Molly enjoys hiking, going to the beach, yoga, meditation, biking, playing with her dogs, and spending time with family and friends.

Birth Doula Training – Life Cycles
Birth Doula Training – DONA (Pending)
Certified Prenatal and Postpartum Yoga Instructor
Placenta Encapsulation


Njeri Motley*

Njeri Motley

Njeri is a Birth Doula as well as a homemaker and provider. She is married and the mother of 6 children, 5 girls and 1 boy. Njeri believes that the power and strength given to woman during childbirth is incomprehensible, honorable and supernatural. Njeri has assisted friends, family and complete strangers in child birthing and her passion in this profession matches her dedication.

Njeri’s objective is to give her clients the absolute best experience when welcoming their child into the world.

Birth Doula


Ashley Petit, MS, CD(DONA)*

Ashley Petit, BS, MS

Ashley Petit is an experienced Health Education Specialist and Birth Coach. The majority of Ashley’s graduate studies were focused on researching women’s beliefs of breastfeeding preconception. Ashley is passionate about global health and spent two years serving as a Maternal and Child Health Educator with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. While overseas, she became proficient in Spanish, educated Midwives on balanced nutrition and safe birthing practices, taught reproductive health in the local high school, ran women’s groups in the community and acted as a birth worker for dozens of women. Ashley is a Tobacco Treatment Specialist, a DONA trained Birth Doula, Health Coach and a Yoga Teacher. Among her involvement in the community, Ashley is a mom of two and raising a family of her own. She is continuing to seek her true passion of helping women in her community have positive birth experiences.

Ithaca College – Master of Science in Health Education
SUNY Buffalo – Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness

Certified Birth Doula – DONA International
Certified Health Education Specialist
Certified Prenatal Yoga Teacher – Yoga Alliance
CRP, and First Aid Certified


Laurie Rashkin

Laurie Rashkin

I began my child birthing career 41 years ago when a friend asked me to attend her birth. That experience changed my life! Four years later I become certified as a Lamaze Childbirth Instructor and attended many births of couples in the Buffalo area. At that time there still was not a name for women who assisted as births who were not nurses.

After hearing about the DONA organization, I trained and became certified as a doula and finally had a title for the work that brought me so much joy. Presently I teach childbirth classes on a 1:1 basis and attend births. Childbirth is my passion and I love to support couples so they can have their best birth possible. In 2017 I was awarded the prestigious Advanced Certified Doula designation from DONA.

I live in North Buffalo with my husband Shmuel. When not attending births, I create handmade jewelry, volunteer at a local school, organize doulas workshops, and visit family, especially our delicious grandchildren.

Birth Doula Training – Dona International
Certified Lamaze Instructor


Kayla Rogers, CD

Kayla Rogers, CD

I am the owner of Divine Lotus Doula Services, and I also serve as independent contractor of Buffalo Doulas Services. I was born and raised in Buffalo, and continue to leave here with my husband and three daughters.  I have been a doula since 2016, attending births in the hospital, at the Birthing Center of Buffalo, and in the home. Since then I have also become a Postpartum Doulas with IPPA. I am also a Medicaid approved doulas with the NYS Doula Pilot Program.

I intend to become certified in placenta encapsulation. I strive to create a strong and health birth environment where the birthing person feels empowered and respected, not just during their labor and birth but beyond.

Birth Doula Training – Dona International
Postpartum Doula Training – IPPA
NRP, CRP, and First Aid Certified


Rachel Tibold

Rachel Carreras-Tibold
Rachel is a wife and mom of five grown daughters in the Southtowns. She has experience in home and hospital births. She supports and received everyone who is birthing, including IVF and birthing center clients. She has trained as a birth and postpartum doula through DONA International and has attended many conferences and workshops, including Hypnobirth, Rebozo, YL essential oils, and postpartum depression syndrome.

Rachel is a current participant in the NYS Doula Pilot Program as well as the NYS Doula Medicaid Project task force in Erie County. In her spare time, you’ll find Rachel traveling, volunteering, supporting the arts and spending time outdoors with family. She is passionate about life, faith, and family.

Birth Doula training – DONA International


Alexandria Trimble, BS, MS

Alexandria Trimble, BS, MS
Hello all! My name is Alex and I am a birth and postpartum doula as well as a health educator at a local Buffalo hospital. As a doula, I support women who choose a variety of birthing options including medical and non-medical pain relief techniques and interventions. I work hard to keep clients as comfortable as possible without inhibiting the progress they are making as they labor. I think the emotional and physical support of a doula is so helpful in the birthing room and can aid in keeping both mom and her birthing partner calm and focused even when things don’t go as planned (which we know they rarely do)! When I’m not working as a doula, you can find me cozied up at home in Marilla with my husband and 1 year old son. I am looking forward to working with all of you!

Canisius – Master of Science in Community & Social Health
SUNY Brockport – Bachelor of Science in Psychology

Birth Doula training – Childbirth International
Placenta Encapsulation and Postpartum Training – International Placenta and Postpartum Association
Bloodborne Pathogens for Placenta Encapsulation Professionals – Biologix Solutions, LLC


Tara Withey, CD, CBE, CVD

Tara Withey, CD, CCETara Withey is a certified birth doula, postpartum doula, and childbirth educator serving the WNY area since 2010. She is happily married to her best friend Chris and together they have 7 children on earth and 4 in heaven. She homeschools and loves being a wife and mother.

She has always had a heart for pregnancy and birth, even as a child. She wanted to help women through the process of birthing, a gift that will stay with them and transform them forever. She completed her training and certification process through Cascade Christian Childbirth Association (CCCA) in 2010 and Madriella in 2016. She also completed training through Stillbirthday (SBD), Childbirth International (CBI), ProDoula, and is working toward dual certifications. Tara has added certified Doula Trainer to her resume in May of 2016. She is the owner/founder of Birthing by Design and co-founder of the WNY Doulas and the Better Birth Baby Shower!

Tara serves families in all types of births, medical or natural, cesarean or vaginal, home, hospital, or birth center. She especially has a heart for families pregnant after a loss and families seeking a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). It is her pleasure to come alongside you and assist you in whatever your goals are, and however your birth unfolds!

Birth Doula Training – Dona International
Postpartum Doula Training – IPPA
Certified Childbirth Educator


Brenzella Williams

Brenzella WilliamsDella is the proud mother of 5, grandmother of 17 and great grandmother of 9; she has attended and supported most of their deliveries, and many others. Della has 19 years of hospital experience in labor and delivery, nursery and postpartum.

It has always been Della’s desire to support women in their decision to control as much as they could of their birth plans and births. Over the years she has witnessed the shift as the medical profession has become more and more willing and in agreement that women and their partners should have a more active role in the planning their deliveries. Della now takes on a more supportive role within birth.

Birth and Postpartum Doula