How Does a Doula Aid in Labor

How Does a Doula Aid in Labor

We’re often asked about how a doula aids a laboring woman.

How a doula supports a woman during birth depends on the individual woman, her needs and desires, additional supporters and birthing style.  No birth or woman is cookie-cutter and as such what we do for each woman may be different.

For instance, the new mother-to-be may have chosen to use a specific laboring technique and our aim is to support her within those guidelines.

Or, she may have chosen to use pain medicine, such as an epidural, and our expertise is needed to help her effectively labor in bed.

There are five main aspects to doula support during labor:

  1. Physical Support

  2. Emotional Support

  3. Information Support

  4. Partner Support

  5. Communication

Physical Support

Physical support includes, but is not limited to, massage, counter-pressure, position changes, keeping energy up through hydration and nourishment, rebozo techniques and heat and cold therapy.

Emotional Support

Doulas use encouragement, positive affirmations, relaxation techniques and guidance to support the woman’s emotional state.  Some may use tools like essential oils, birth music, focal points and other stimuli to engage relaxation and well-being in each of the five senses.  One of her goals is to create a calm birthing environment.  Her ultimate goal is to have a deep connection with the birthing woman.

Informational Support

In any birth setting – home, hospital or birth center – doulas are able to provide information to supplement advice and recommendations given by care providers.  This is in coordination with plans made prenatally and the woman’s wishes.  We help parents-to-be navigate the many sources of opinion and information – from books, friends, family, even strangers -and are happy to share any knowledge or insight we have, if requested.

Partner Support

Many partners, especially those expecting their first babies, have expressed after the fact that they had no idea how intense and demanding birth is.  Add in how excited they are to meet their child, no rest and the physical labor of well, labor, and you have a recipe for an exhausted, stressed-out partner. Doulas support both the mother and the partner – reminding everyone to drink, eat and rest, taking as much of the physical support as is desired and modeling emotional support if necessary.


A doula prides herself on being the best communicator in the room. She works to aid in effective dialogue between doctors, nurses, midwives and the birthing parents, without speaking on anyone’s behalf.  She supports informed decision-making and helps the woman advocate for herself. (A doula will not speak on behalf of the birthing woman. This practice is unethical and not professional.)

This is just what doulas do during birth itself!  Contact us today to find out more about prenatal and postpartum support and services.

About Christie Collbran

Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power. Having served as President of the Tampa Bay Birth Network for six years and with ten years serving families as a birth doula, she has a reputation for leadership, dedication and compassion. A childbirth educator, certified lactation counselor as well as a certified doula, she makes a point of ensuring mothers and their partners understand all their birthing options and what to expect on their journey.> keep reading

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