the evidence-based case for doulas
Read about the amazing, evidence-based benefits of having a doula present at your birth here, and then feel free to read along to learn more about what a doula can do for you.
What can a labor doula do for you?
Help you and your birth partner explore your birth options, connect you to local resources and support you in your prenatal labor preparation. Doulas typically meet one or two times with you prenatally to check in on how things are going, discuss expectations, and provide support tailored towards your needs.
In labor, help with the transition from home to hospital or birth center.
Meet your basic needs in labor so that you are comfortable enough to focus on doing the hard work of staying present through contractions. This includes keeping you hydrated, suggesting snacks, helping to regulate your body temperature with cold cloths blankets, keeping lights dim, supporting your birth partner in communicating with your care provider, and helping you find comfort in different positions with pillows or physical support.
Help you to manage the pain of labor by suggesting and actively supporting you through different coping techniques such as breathwork, visualization and position changes. Suggest exercises and positions in response to baby’s positioning and how labor is unfolding.
Providing unwavering emotional and physical support through each contraction with encouraging words, comforting touch and a constant presence of non-judgemental, compassionate support. This helps mom with the primal fear of abandonment she might be feeling as hormones flow to support labor.
Uplifts your birth partner so that they can better support you. Makes sure their basic needs are met as well, provide them with words of encouragement that they can say, can relieve them when they need to rest, eat, contact family members, or refresh their memory about stages of labor, interventions being offered, etc. A doula will also reassure a birth partner of the normal, healthful process of birth if they have difficult emotions about seeing the person they love experiencing pain. Doulas know birth, but your partner knows you. A doula does not replace your birth partner - we support each other to make a wonderful birth team for you.
If interventions are offered during labor or complications arise, a doula can help slow things down so that you and your birth partner can go through the BRAIN method and discuss benefits, risks and alternatives to help you make an informed decision.
Will often have a copy of your birth plan and can help you remind you of your birth preferences. A doula will not speak for you but can help uplift and support your birth partner in doing so.
Supports you in different positions for the pushing stage of labor, can utilize breathwork or counting to help make pushing more effective, and help you to rest between pushing contractions to save your energy and push more effectively.
Stays 1-2 hours after your baby is born to make sure you feel supported, help your birth partner communicate your preferences for breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping, etc, help with breastfeeding/first latch, and celebrate you for your incredible accomplishment of giving birth to your baby! A doula may bring you juice and crackers so that your stomach won’t be empty for ibuprofen or aspirin that the hospital may offer postnatally, put in a request for a lactation consultant or pelvic floor therapist, take your first family photos, and send texts to family members awaiting the good news.
Home visit 1-2 weeks postnatal to see how everyone is doing, offer local resources and support, and talk through your birth story to help you process this intense and meaningful experience.