Better Birthing: How Doulas Support Parents and Partners

May 8, 2023

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If you’re planning an extended international trip, you might work with a travel agent to manage your bookings — but you’d still love to have a local tour guide. If you’re buying a house, you’ll probably choose a realtor and mortgage broker — and really benefit from a personal financial counselor.

And if you’re going to be giving birth, you’ll partner with a doctor or midwife — and might really appreciate what a professional doula brings to personally working with you and your birth experience.

Professional support for your personal needs

You’ve probably planned to have a birth partner from your inner circle with you during labor and delivery — the baby’s other parent, a significant other, your best friend, a mother or sister. And while this person can provide immense support, encouragement and even distraction, it may be their first time supporting a person in labor — sometimes an overwhelming responsibility.

A doula is a professional birth partner who provides emotional and physical support to you during labor and delivery. They are specially trained in techniques to make labor easier and less painful. Many doulas provide in-home support in postpartum recovery, newborn care and breastfeeding after you and your baby leave the hospital.

While your medical birth team focuses on your and your baby’s physical health and safety, a doula ensures your mental, emotional and nonmedical needs are addressed too. She also serves as another person to help you communicate and understand what’s going on as labor progresses.

Benefits to hiring a doula

Anyone can benefit from a doula, whether you’re delivering with a physician and using medication-based pain management or delivering with a certified nurse-midwife and taking a low-intervention approach. Women who plan to have an unmedicated birth especially benefit from the physical support and pain management techniques doulas offer.

Some benefits to using a doula include:

  • Lower cesarean rates and lower rates of using medication for pain: Studies show women supported by a doula are:
    • 9% less likely to use pain medication.
    • 28% less likely to have a C-section.
    • 35% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively.
  • Support for your support person: Partners often feel less stressed and more present during a birthing experience when supported by a doula. Doulas can also coach your support person in how to better support you.
  • Physical support: A doula is trained in techniques and positions to help you manage labor pain. If you need help standing, squatting, leaning, stretching — they’re there!
  • Emotional and mental support: Giving birth is exhausting, and not just physically. A doula encourages, educates and empowers you to stay strong through labor and delivery.

How to find a doula

We’ve partnered with Gateway Doulas to provide support for laboring patients at the Family Birth Place. They provide physical, informational and emotional support, including:

  • Natural pain coping techniques.
  • Birth and postpartum planning.
  • Newborn care and feeding education.

If you’d like to learn more or hire a doula for your delivery, visit the Gateway Doulas website and complete the form. If you'd like to learn more about unmedicated birth, check out our Understanding Natural Childbirth online class