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.
Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
JoLynn Montgomery PA - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine