DONA International Founders: Mothering the Mother
Drs. Marshall Klaus and John Kennell, Phyllis Klaus C.S.W., M.F.C.C., Penny Simkin, PT, and Annie Kennedy, all renowned experts in childbirth and newborns, founded DONA International in 1992. Their goal was to promote doula care – continuous emotional and physical support for women during labor and early postpartum.
From left to right: Peggy and John Kennell, Phyllis Klaus, Penny Simkin,
Marshall Klaus and Annie Kennedy.
Marshall Klaus, while running the neonatal intensive care nursery at Stanford University in 1967, discovered that many parents of premature and sick infants were having difficulty adjusting to their new babies. At that time, mothers were not allowed into the premature nursery until just before discharge. Klaus joined forces with Dr. John Kennell, his colleague at Case Western Reserve University, to study bonding. Their work was instrumental in gradually opening premature and sick baby nurseries to parents worldwide and to allow parents of normal, full-term infants to be with their babies during the first moments after birth.
Klaus and Kennell also discovered the importance of continuous emotional and physical support from another woman to women in labor. Klaus and Kennell, along with Phyllis Klaus, Penny Simkin and Annie Kennedy, chose the word “doula” to describe a woman who serves other women. Our five founders have continued their research and frequently share their knowledge through their writings and speaking engagements.
Books by our founders
• Klaus, M, Kennell, J. & Klaus, P., Bonding: Building The Foundations Of Secure Attachment And Independence
• Klaus, M. & Klaus, P., Your Amazing Newborn
• Klaus, M., Kennell, J & Klaus, P., The Doula Book
• Simkin, P. & Ancheta, R., The Labor Progress Handbook
• Simkin, P., The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
• Simkin, Whalley, Keppler, Durham & Bolding, Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: the Complete Guide
• Simkin, P & Klaus, P., When Survivors Give Birth