What does a Birth Doula do?

May 10, 2023
BY Partum Health Care TEam
Partum Health care team
Woman in labor

A birth doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to a birthing person and partner leading up to and during childbirth. A doula is the experienced voice (and hands!) in the room during your labor and delivery as well as the person providing support via phone, text, and in birth preparation sessions leading up to the big day. 

 A birth doula's role is to help the birthing person have a safe, positive, and empowering birth experience. This can include providing comfort measures such as massage and breathing techniques, helping you advocate for your preferences with your care team, and providing education and guidance throughout the pregnancy and childbirth. Birth doulas do not provide medical care or make medical decisions, but rather work alongside medical professionals to ensure that the mother's needs are met and her wishes respected.

For many parents the comfort of having a trained doula who has been through labor and delivery with many parents before can be a major source of empowerment. Labor can be unpredictable, but doulas are fantastic resources who can help you feel prepared and ensure you make the most of this life changing experience. 

When you’re giving birth in a busy hospital, your care team can be coming and going taking care of many patients on the floor. Nurses will be providing support, monitoring your progression, and checking in regularly. Your doctor or midwife will also be checking in, though less frequently, and typically arriving when you are ready to push. Your doula, on the other hand, is there just for you, coaching you, encouraging you, and helping your partner find the right way to support and be present. Doulas can often help you think through choices regarding your labor as a non-clinical extension of your care team. 

A great birth doula will come prepared to help you manage the discomforts of labor and create a calming and relaxing atmosphere. She will help you prepare by thinking through your preferences and also help you work through positions and movements to help your body and the baby ready for delivery. In the event unexpected issues arise, a doula can help you understand the recommendations of your care team and think through any choices you may be asked to make. 

Research has shown that having a doula present during childbirth can lead to shorter labors, fewer medical interventions, and a more positive birth experience for the mother. In fact, in a randomized controlled trial, continuous support from a labor doula was shown to reduce the C-section rate by almost 40%. That’s an incredible impact. Beyond the statistics, the birth doulas at Partum Health come to this work with their whole heart - they are passionate about helping families have a supported birth experience.

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