Interior Hero

Marshall Klaus, MD


With deep sadness we share that one of our beloved founders, Marshall Klaus, has passed on. Dr. Klaus, age 90, a true hero for perinatal/child health, for doula support and for DONA International, will be greatly missed.

We send our love and support to fellow DONA International founder, Phyllis Klaus and family as they walk down the path of remembrance. For those in our organization who knew Dr. Klaus, we also send you our deepest condolences. To know him, to learn from him, to be supported as doulas by him was a gift.

We are eternally grateful for Dr. Klaus and his work with DONA International for the betterment of pregnant, birthing and postpartum people and babies. In honor of the lifework of Dr. Klaus, we offer free downloads of two audio recordings from conference sessions in which Dr. Klaus taught us about Kangaroo Care (2005) and Caring for the Infant of a Depressed Mother (2006). We hope hearing about these subjects from the voice of Dr. Klaus is meaningful for you. His legacy lives on.

In lieu of flowers, the Klaus family has requested that donations be made to DONA International to establish a scholarship fund in his memory.  Donations may be submitted online via our online portal or mailed to DONA International, Marshall Klaus Fund, 35. E. Wacker Dr. Ste. 850, Chicago, IL 60601-2106.

Recently, Dr. Klaus celebrated his 90th birthday surrounded by family and friends. In this video tribute, Penny Simkin shares a sweet message to Dr. Klaus about his work in the field of perinatal/child health.

Dr. Klaus’s life work was that of a neonatologist and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Together with his colleague, Dr. John H. Kennell, he began studying bonding between the birthing person and their baby in the 1960s after noticing that people whose babies were in the neonatal intensive care unit struggled to attach to their infants after release. 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. Together, the two physicians also conducted the earliest studies on the benefits of continuous labor support. Dr. Klaus is a founder of DONA International (previously known as Doulas of North America). He is co-author of the books Care of the High Risk Neonate; Bonding: Building the Foundations of a Secure Attachment and Independence; The Doula Book and Your Amazing Newborn, in addition to numerous journal articles.

He will be greatly missed.

Dr. Marshall H. Klaus, Maternity-Ward Reformer, Dies at 90

The New York Times highlighted the life and work of Dr. Klaus in this piece released after his death, it includes this video with Dr. Klaus sharing a bit about the work of the doula.  Thank you to Gail Tully for sharing this video with us and with The New York Times.

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Video by Gail Tully, Midwife & Creator of Spinning Babies.
Marshall took such pride in doulas.  His face lit up whenever he spoke with us and he took our questions seriously.  In his presence, a doula was always made to feel special and important because her work was changing the world. He always thanked us for being doulas. He, along with John Kennell, gave us the science behind what we knew felt right, but they gave us so much more too.  They gave us a way to make a living that also feeds our souls, and I am forever in their debt.
Ann Grauer

Past President