Doulas and Support During Childbirth

Overview

When you're in labor, you can get support from your partner, a loved one, or a friend. You may also get support from hospital nurses, a midwife, or a doula (say "DOO-luh").

A doula is a birth coach who can support you while you're in labor and delivering your baby. They can also help you feel supported after your baby is born.

Having a doula or support person with you may reduce your labor time. And you might be less likely to need pain medicines.

If you're interested in working with a doula, ask your friends, doctor, midwife or hospital for recommendations.

How can a doula help during labor?

A doula's job is to help support you before, during, and after your baby is born. During labor, a doula can focus on your needs and offer you continuous support.

There are many ways a doula can offer support. They might:

  • Meet with you to learn your birth preferences.
  • Teach you about what to expect and how to prepare for labor.
  • Listen to your concerns.
  • Answer questions.
  • Reassure and encourage you during labor.
  • Track your labor.
  • Remind hospital staff about your wishes and birth preferences.
  • Guide a birth photographer, if you have one.
  • Help you feel comfortable, calm, and relaxed. They might:
    • Give you a massage.
    • Help you get into different positions.
    • Use guided imagery to help ease your pain.
    • Remind you to take deep breaths.
    • Walk with you.

If you have a partner or loved one with you during labor, a doula can also help that person feel confident and helpful.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: February 23, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
JoLynn Montgomery PA - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine