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  • Nicole Ament

How can a doula help with birth and labor?

Updated: Sep 8



Now, many of us have had babies throughout the years with very little support and help, and we’ve survived, sure. And many people hear about birthwork and automatically think, ‘That’s so unnecessary! Emotional support is what the partner is for!’ But what if I told you that while we may be ‘unnecessary’ in the eyes of many, that studies show a significantly different labor outcome when we ARE present?
For example, when a birth person has a doula there for support during labor:
Higher positive birth outcomes happen, as reported by the birth person
Overall c-section rates decrease by 50%
Length of labor decreases by 25%
Requests for an epidural decreases by 60%
Fewer interventions are used during labor
Through the use of massage, natural oxytocin is increased
The birth person is less likely to experience birth complications

While these things may not seem to be important, they truly are. And you may be wondering exactly what it is that a birth doula does for a laboring person. Here are just a few ways that we support laboring people, and their partners, during their births:
Help create a birth plan
We use the power of touch to calm and reduce anxiety
Help create a calm and happy birth environment
Compliment and enhance the partner’s support, which allows them to focus more on the laboring person, allowing them to enjoy the experience more, too
Advocate for the birth person about their desires during their labor
Help emotionally support medicated and unmedicated births
Provide emotional support and encouragement
Can provide educational information when requested, that’s both evidence-based and takes into account culture and history
Provide guidance to the new parents about all things baby-related
Help feed the baby, whether by body or bottle
Help create an intimate and safe golden hour
Help with those firsts like bathing baby, swaddling, and other soothing methods
Help prepare the parents for postpartum life with a newborn
Help the partner to be able to focus more on the laboring person and how they can support them

As you can see, the role of birth workers is never-ending. We don’t replace a partner during labor and birth, we add to the dynamic by providing both people support, so they can focus on having the births that they want to have, with as few interventions as possible, and a happy outcome for the family.
Whether you’re needing a lot of support or a little, we can help provide that to you. The investment of a birth doula is long-lasting and well-worth it, as far too many people have life-long trauma that comes directly from their births that went astray, that left them feeling out of control and unable to make decisions based on what they actually wanted as opposed to making decisions because they were coerced into doing so.
Whatever you emotionally need during the end of your pregnancy, the time of your labor and delivery, and into the postpartum, having a doula here to help can dramatically change the entire outcome of that experience. The investment is worth it!
Gruber, K. J., Cupito, S. H., & Dobson, C. F. (2013). Impact of doulas on healthy birth outcomes. The Journal of perinatal education, 22(1), 49–58. https://doi.org/10.1891/1058-1243.22.1.49
https://evidencebasedbirth.com/the-evidence-for-doulas/
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