Pacific Association of Labor Support | Supporting the Professional Doula since 1989

UW medicine limits labor support

11.24.20 UPDATE: Sign the Overlake petition!

Overlake Medical Center and Clinics
ATTN: Patient Relations
ATTN: Sandy Salmon – Director of Women’s and Infants’ Services
ATTN: J. Michael Marsh-CEO
1035 116th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

Dear Overlake Administration, We are writing to express our deep disappointment and concern about the updated visitor policy announced, Monday, 11.24.2020. In that policy obstetric patients are limited to one support person. I, as a laboring person, now have to choose between my primary support/partner and the presence of the doula I fired to support our family through this time of transition. NO other hospital system in the greater Seattle area have barred doulas from serving their clients during this pandemic. We believe that these policy changes will negatively impact the most vulnerable populations as doula work is social justice work.

Governor Jay Inslee, in his March 23, 2020 proclamation, designated doulas as essential health workers in the Healthcare/Public Health Sector Profile, bullet 2:

• Health care providers and caregivers (e.g., physicians, dentists, psychologists, mid-level
practitioners, nurses and assistants, infection control and quality assurance personnel, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and assistants, midwives and DOULAS
(emphasis added) attending facility-based or home-based births, alternative healthcare
providers, social workers, speech pathologists and diagnostic and therapeutic technicians
and technologists).

We applaud and thank you for your dedication to protecting the lives of healthcare workers and the public. Our doula, as a fellow essential worker, understands the seriousness of COVID19, as do we. We also know that World Health Organization supports the rights of birthing families to have a companion of choice in labor, stating a companion of choice “can bridge gaps between a woman in labor and the healthcare workers around her, offer massage or hand-holding to help relieve pain, and provide reassurance to help her feel in control.” Our doula is our companion of choice. In this current environment, we lack the extended family and community support we would have otherwise would have had access to. Research supports the positive impact of doulas. We are well aware that denying us, and other birthing families access, to the support of our choosing has the potential to negatively impact birth outcomes, immediate and long-term. The stress of this policy change is currently negatively impacting us, and certainly other families. Nationally, an estimated 6% of birthing families choose doula support (Listening to Mothers Survey, 2018), though locally we estimate that number to be 2-2.5x higher. In 2019, 3,537 deliveries took place at Overlake ( 2019 Preliminary
Delivery Statistics). Even at 6%, that equates to 212 doula supported births at Overlake. 212 doula supported births seems like a small number relative to control of the pandemic but means everything to our family. As a patient of Overlake, I urgently request that you revise your visitor policy for Obstetrics patients to include professional labor support. Sincerely,

Sign the petition here  | Downloadable letter to send to Overlake



The Research on Doulas

The jury has been back on the positive impact of doulas on birth satisfaction and improved outcomes for 30+ years. From research articles, scholarly reviews, recommendations from ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) as well current pregnancy and parent magazines, doulas are here to stay. Check out what they have to say. 

The PALS Difference

PALS is the original doula organization dedicated to the development of the professional doula. Our goal is to doula you on your professional path and connect you with a rich and diverse community for ongoing support and skill development.

For other birth professionals, being a PALS Doula means community, development, and accountability to our organizational guidelines.

Looking for a doula? Find a doula!

PALS Doulas (formerly the Pacific Association of Labor Support) have been supporting birthing families in the community since 1989. We continue that tradition by connecting you with our many available certified and certifying doulas.

All doulas listed on this website are members in good standing with current, active certification or pursing certification with PALS Doulas. 

“While the doula probably knows more than the partner about birth, hospitals and maternity care, the partner knows more about the birthing person’s personality, likes, dislikes and needs. Moreover, the partner loves the birthing person more than anyone else there. The combination of partner and doula, along with a caring staff gives the birthing person the best chance of an optimal outcome.” 

-Penny Simkin, author of The Birth Partner

Request a Doula

Are you looking for a doula? Click here to complete a simple form and we will send available PALS Doulas name and contact information to YOU

We’ve been connecting and supporting doulas for 30 years. We are here to answer your questions. help you find the right training for you, and assist you in certifying. 
We are committed to removing barriers to and increasing accessibility to membership and certification with PALS Doulas for ALL Doulas in Washington State regardless of training organizations; as such we offer a variety of full and partial scholarships. Click below to apply or to donate in support of PALS Doulas. As a 501(c)6 organization we are sustained through the support of our members (via membership and certification fees) and generous support of community members. 

Years Strong!

“Only with trust, faith, and support can the birthing person allow the birth experience to enlighten and empower them. Thier strongest feelings [in terms of their birthings], positive and negative, focus on the way they were treated by their caregivers.”

-Penny Simkin and Annie Kennedy, PALS Founders

Supporting Members

Sprout Birth Center & Natural Health

We’re committed to providing a safe place for everyone to grow, birth, and find their best health. By caring for you and your family we strive to help prepare you for the transition to parenthood and the new addition to your family.

All people and families are welcome. We’d be honored to be a part of your journey.

Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations

If you dream of serving birthing persons and families, the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations at Bastyr University delivers knowledge, tools, and skills you can immediately use in your community. Since 1988, the Simkin Center has helped more than 8500 students meet their educational goals and go on to become leaders in their professions.

Baby Diaper Service

Simple. Smart. Sustainable. Eco-Friendly full service cloth diapering since 1946. 

Tranquility Postpartum Support

Nurturing Care for the Fourth Trimester

Providing American Heart Association certified CPR instruction, H.U.G. Your Baby , a Becoming Us - Family facilitator, a certified maternal and infant sleep consultant, and CAPPA postpartum doula.

Tree of Life Chiropractic

We're Seattle's premier perinatal and pediatric chiropractic office. Here at Tree of Life Chiropractic, it is our passion and calling to serve the families of the greater Seattle area. We believe that being healthy is our number one asset and that true health starts with conception. We specialize in the Webster technique and other prenatal techniques that ensure your pregnancy and birth are as successful and safe as possible. 

Open Arms Perinatal Services

Community-based support for the families who need it most.

We help parents and children develop the confidence and skills they need to become their own best advocates. Our network of trained birth doulas and community-based early parenting support create positive early childhood outcomes that last a lifetime.


Serving Seattle since 2008.

Our comfortable, family-friendly classroom is located in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle.  We believe every family is unique. We strive to provide a safe and productive environment for all families.

If we improve birth today, future generations will thrive!  EVERY SINGLE BIRTHING PERSON is deserving of respect, care and unconditional support.

Om Mama Co.

Om Mama Co. is a collective of photography & wellness businesses in Seattle serving a community of anticipating, expecting and new moms. Our mission is to connect, support and celebrate women during this season of life, by encouraging mind & body strength, friendship and FUN! 

International Placenta & Postpartum Association

Providing placenta and postpartum training.

Puget Sound Birth Center

Supporting safe, respectful, family-centered care​ for over 23 years with personalized attention from our experienced, licensed midwives.
Support for how you want to birth.​

Seattle Midwives

We believe in birth, and we believe in you. Caring midwifery support for in-home births.

Moms Rising

MomsRising is a network of people just like you, united by the goal of changing the world.

Perinatal Support of Washington

1 in 7 Women

…and 1 in 10 men experience serious mood and anxiety disorders during the perinatal period around the birth of a child.

The prognosis for recovery is excellent with a combination of support, therapy and/or medications. Perinatal Support of Washington connects families with psychotherapists, support groups, providers to oversee medication management, and doulas.

1-888-404-7763 Warm line/Se Habla Espanol


Diaper Stork

At Diaper Stork, our goal is to make your baby parenting life as simple as possible, and do some good while we're at it. Whatever your reasons for choosing cloth, we want to help make cloth diapering accessible, convenient, and easy to stick with. Our core cloth diaper service provides a weekly pick up and delivery of cloth diapers. We also have a cloth diaper rental system and products for sale for those interested in washing at home and saving $$.

Program For Early Parenting Support

PEPS connects and supports new parents as they begin their parenting journey. Connecting 3700+ parents throughout King and Snohomish Counties in thriving, social, peer-supported parent groups. 

Community for Mindful Parenting

The Community of Mindful Parenting aspires to empower parents to become more effective, mindful and compassionate. We are comprised of expectant moms, parents, grandparents, extended families and friends with the goal to nurture powerful relationships between parents and their children. Learn about your Listening Mothers™ class and plan to join our Facebook Community to continue the amazing journey of mindful parenting.

Embodied Wellness

Amy is a Certified Nutritionist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor passionate about helping moms nourish themselves with food, emotional support, and other self-care practices.

Puget Sound Birth Tubs

Providing rigid and inflatable birth tubs for rent in the greater Seattle area.