Deacon Doulas are trained, volunteer birth companions who provide continuous physical and emotional support to laboring patients at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Birth Center, at no cost to the patient themselves. As a program, we focus on serving medicaid-insured, uninsured, and teen patients since these people are often unable to afford private doula care.

Our Mission

Deacon Doulas strives to promote positive birth experiences and narrow the race-based gap in maternal health outcomes in Forsyth County by providing compassionate and empowering doula care at no cost to laboring patients at the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Birth Center.

Our Vision

We aspire to eliminate the financial barrier to doula based labor support in Forsyth County because we believe that every birthing person should have access to continuous labor support and emotional care, regardless of their ability to pay.

Why Become a Deacon Doula Volunteer?

Deacon Doulas are there every step of the way.

Deacon Doulas are trained to be a supportive presence to laboring individuals by providing emotional care, validation, and encouragement; offering physical counterpressure, breath coaching, and relaxation techniques; and sharing information about the birthing process and positioning suggestions that may increase comfort or help move Baby into the most optimal orientation.

During their on-call shifts, volunteers are matched one-on-one with a birthing person and remain present to them throughout the entirety of the birth or until the end of their shift. Most Deacon Doulas have heard some version of “I couldn’t have done it without you” from a patient after birth.

Doulas reduce maternal health disparities.

In the United States, people of color experience disproportionately high rates of severe maternal morbidity and pregnancy-related deaths. Research shows that socially disadvantaged patients, who are at greater risk for adverse birth outcomes, were less likely to experience a birth complication when assisted by a doula compared to those who were not.

You can gain patient contact hours in a flexible manner.

Volunteering as a doula is an incredible experience for pre-med or pre-health students and a great way to obtain medical volunteering hours for health professional school applications. 

After training, volunteers commit to at least two on-call shifts per month. Doulas sign up for their 12-hour shifts (8 am-8 pm or 8 pm-8 am) prior to each month based on their own availability and on a first come first serve basis. When on-call, they are not expected to be at the hospital if there is not a laboring patient requesting a doula.

Program History

With the support of two Schweitzer Fellowships, Deacon Doulas was founded and expanded by Abby Peoples and Callie White from 2019-2021, while they were medical students at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The program continues to be led by medical students in partnership with the Wake Forest University Women’s Center.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the program or would like to collaborate, feel free to reach out to Hannah Rehm at We receive a high volume of emails from prospective doulas so please read our webpage on Becoming a Deacon Doula in its entirety before reaching out. However, if you still have questions about the program or just want to chat about being a doula, we would love to talk with you!