Meet Lori Bregman Our “Doula in Residence”

Paula James-Martinez

Meet Lori Bregman Our “Doula in Residence”

Were thrilled to announce that Lori Bregman is joining us as our new “Doula in Residence.” Lori will work with Needed to share her over 20 years of birth experience with our community through a Dear Doula advice column, Facebook live community programming, and in-person events. Few individuals embody Needed’s core value of compassionate truth-telling better than Lori.

Lori’s client list includes celebrities like Kristen Bell, Molly Sims, Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway and Kelly Rowland, as well as CEOs, founders, and athletes. But beyond her impressive client roster, Lori is known for her unwavering dedication to supporting mothers from all backgrounds. She advocates tirelessly, leveraging her connections to amplify the changes needed in the healthcare system and maternal support in the United States.

To delve deeper into the world of LA’s celebrity doula, we recently sat down with Lori for a candid conversation about her transformative journey, her deep connection to birth work, and the ever-evolving landscape of maternal care. 



Needed: Lori, your journey to becoming a doula is deeply intertwined with your personal experiences and own healing journey. Could you share how these experiences shaped your path?

Lori: My dad once said to me, he quoted the Steve Jobs quote, ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.’ And that’s how I feel about my connection to birth work.

I feel like everything in my life set me up to do this. It really started with my mother’s pregnancy with me, my own birth, and her postpartum period. She did the best she could at the time but really wasn’t equipped to be a mom because she was so young, unprepared, and unsupported. This all really had a big impact on me, and I spent a lot of time over the years healing from it.

I do believe had I not come into the world this way, I wouldn’t be doing the work that I do. Throughout the years, I was always drawn to working with pregnant women. Every class I took and every kind of healing modality I studied, my thought always was how can I gear this towards pregnancy, birth, and parenting? As Ricki Lake said to me the other day, for some birth workers, it’s a job, and for other people, it’s a soul calling. And I do feel that with me

Needed: Your approach to doula care seems to transcend the traditional bounds of support during childbirth. Could you elaborate on your ethos?

Lori: For me, doula care is about more than just physical support during childbirth. I love to provide support throughout the whole pregnancy journey. It’s about really getting to know my people because the way you do life is the way you do birth. I look at my people as individuals; what works for one might not be right for someone else, and I tailor my work I do with them around that. We address emotional trauma and foster healing.

I also believe that knowledge is power, and if you don't know your options, especially when birthing in the system, often it can feel as if you don't have any. So, I am really big on educating them on their choices and providing lots of birth prep sessions. We create birth intentions, I help them put together their team, we work on their overall health and well-being, as well as nurture and nourish the whole person—mind, body, and spirit 

The birth of a mother is one of the biggest transformations a woman will ever go through in her life. 

On the path of trying to become pregnant, during pregnancy, birth, everything that comes up for you on the journey is preparing you for motherhood and for your child, whether it's learning patience or letting go of control or going with the flow, whatever it is, things in your relationship, insecurities, or learning to trust your intuition. I support the families I work with to unpack all of this.

Needed: How do you view the evolving perception of doulas in today's society?

Lori: When I first became a doula, I didn't know any other doulas. I had zero support. It was like the Wild West.

That’s why I did my mentorship program for new doulas because after my doula training, I really had no idea what I was doing. My first birth was my best friend’s daughter. And I just sat there. I didn’t know what to do. It’s so funny because I saw her (my friend's daughter) the other day and she said, ‘I was your first birth and you’re going to retire with me when I have my baby. That can be your last.’ I was like, I don’t know if I can hold out that long, but I'm going to try. I’ve been doing this for 25 years. 

“Today, doulas are more mainstream, instagram, social media and the internet has really put us on the map.”

Because of that, now doulas are something people know about and are asking for. I can see the need for us doulas growing more and people wanting the support and care we provide. I see more and more women wanting to take back their power in birth and educate themselves. They want to feel informed, supported, heard, and respected. They’d like to try to not have as many interventions and have more autonomy over their health, body, and baby. Us doulas can help navigate and hold space for all of this.

Needed: Walk me through the process, ideally when would someone come to you first as a client? At what stage in their pregnancy do you recommend people find a doula to support them?

Lori: For most people, I get booked really early because again, I don’t just do the birth. I support their mind, body, spirit throughout the pregnancy. Most people pee on a stick and send me a pregnancy test, or they're like, ‘Hey, I found out I’m pregnant, I want to talk to you about being my doula.’

I think no matter what kind of birth you have, you should always have a doula and as early as possible. There is a big misconception that we only do unmedicated births or that we only do home births.

This is a big thing that people don’t understand. We do every kind of birth. We support birth in hospitals. We support birth if you get an epidural, if you have a C-section. If you want to birth in the woods with the deer, we're here to support you in your choice and really hold space, educate, and advocate for you. We help you ride the waves with pain management, comfort measures, mindful practices and bodywork, positional changes, emotional and physical support, and anything else we can add to our toolkit we bring in.


When people start early with their doula it allows the time to build a deep nurturing relationship between the doula and the parents to be to be. Birth is one of the most vulnerable and intimate experiences you will ever have. you need to feel safe, good around  and trust those holding space for you. Your care provider will pop in and out and come towards the end, nurses don't know you and come and go with shift changes. A doula is that familiar  face that you know that stands by you the whole time.

Needed: How do you recommend people choose a doula?

Lori: All of us doulas work differently. There’s a doula out there for everyone. I would suggest doing a few interviews, definitely ask them what their philosophy is. Have they ever worked with your care provider? What’s included in their package and what’s the fee? How long have they been doing this? How did they get into this?

The biggest thing is how does this person you’re talking to make you feel? Do you feel good and inspired after talking with them and do you feel safe with them? That’s a big thing because this person's gonna be holding space for you. You should never feel judged by your doula. A doula won't put her opinions on you. I really try to offer different options and let them know they have choices and then be a sounding board for them to help figure out what is right for them. I always feel word of mouth is the best way to find your doula. Ask your friends, care providers, or wellness providers who they recommend; you will start hearing the same names over and over again. 

Needed: Can you walk us through a pivotal moment in your journey as a doula?

Lori: It’s impossible to pinpoint one thing; I’ve done over 1500 births, and no two have ever been the same. I learn something at every single birth, and I never stop learning, and I will continue to learn with every pregnancy, birth, and family I am blessed to work with. It’s like each golden nugget I take away from working with people throughout the prenatal, birth, and postpartum process goes into my ever-expanding toolkit, whether it’s something I learned from the birth, from a mama, their partner, or a nurse, midwife, or doctor, even an intuitive hit I get. That's how I work a lot, very intuitively. I’ll get this download on something to do out of nowhere, and then I’ll do it and I’m like, oh, that works well. I’m gonna try that again. Looking at everybody as an individual is really important to me. No two women, couples, babies, births, families have ever been the same. What might work for one might not be right or work for another.

Needed: What do you hope to achieve through your work as a doula?

Lori: My ultimate goal is to empower and educate mothers, foster healing, and create a supportive, nurturing environment for families. I believe that peace on earth begins with birth and also by how you were shaped in the womb. It is the first foundation that these babies will grow from. Birth is the first impression they have of the world. What's done to the mama during pregnancy and birth is in turn done to the baby as they are two souls living under one skin. How these women and families are treated, supported, heard, cared for, and respected matters. All of this goes into not just the birth of the baby but also how these women birth themselves as mothers.

I also want to make sure more and more people are able to work in a collaborative model of care (this is the only way I will work anymore) with doulas, doctors, and midwives, which together as a team, we merge our skills and come together to best support the birthing family and their needs.

I’m very invested in my clients, students, followers, and all those I touch. I am so passionate about educating, inspiring, sharing wisdom and resources and seeing the women around me thrive, be empowered, and shine big and bright. Like I said before, it’s not a job to me, it’s a calling.


Like the article? Share it!

Paula James-Martinez, Filmmaker and Editorial Director

Paula James Martinez is a creative producer, filmmaker, and former fashion editor. She is the director and producer of film company Semi-Retired Productions, and in 2018, started working on her directorial debut on the documentary Born Free, which investigates the truth about birth and maternity in America. She has since founded a non-profit organization The Mother Lovers to raise awareness of the US maternal health crisis.