What This Can Look Like?

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Physical support

Doulas support birthing families, to maintain a sense of control, comfort, and confidence. Aspects of physical support provided by a doula may include:

Light touch through, massage or foot rubs

Applying counterpressure on the hips, lower back, wherever the birthing person feels most comfortable

Relaxation, breathing techniques, using a Rebozo or other Spinning Babies® techniques to help fetal positioning

Creating a private, undisturbed, calm environment assisting with water therapy (bath, shower)

Assisting the birthing person in walking, keeping mobile and various labour positions and ensuring the birthing person is well nourished

Applying hot or cold washcloths to the forehead, back, or shoulders

 

Emotional support

One of the doula’s primary goals is to care for the mother’s emotional health and enhance her ability to have a positive birth experience and feel a sense of pride. Doulas may provide the following types of emotional support to the birthing person and their partner:

Continuous presence

Reassurance

Encouragement

Praise

Helping the birthing person see themselves or their situation more positively

Showing a caring attitude

Acceptance of what the birthing person wants

Helping the birthing person and partner work through fears and self-doubt

Debriefing after the birth—listening to the mother with empathy

 

Informational support

Doulas support the birthing person and their partner to stay informed about what’s going on with labour, as well as providing them with access to evidence-based information about birth options.

Guiding the birthing person and their partner through labour

Suggesting techniques in labour, such as breathing, relaxation techniques, movement, and positioning

Helping them find evidence-based information about different options in pregnancy and childbirth

Helping explain medical procedures before or as they occur

Helping the partner understand what’s going on with their loved one’s labour

 

Advocacy

“Advocacy is defined as supporting the birthing person in their right to make decisions about their own body and baby”- Evidence Based Birth Advocacy can take many forms—most of which do not include speaking on behalf of the birthing person. Some examples of advocacy that doulas have described include:

Encouraging the birthing person or their partner to ask questions and verbalize their preferences

Asking the birthing person what they want

Supporting the birthing person’s decision

Amplifying the mother’s voice if she is being dismissed, ignored, or not heard, “Excuse me, she’s trying to tell you something. I wasn’t sure if you heard her or not”

Creating space and time for the birthing family so that they can ask questions, gather evidence-based information, and make decisions without feeling pressured

Facilitating open and honest communication between the parents and care providers

Teaching the birthing person and partner positive communication techniques

If a birthing person is not aware that a provider is about to perform an intervention, the doula could point out what it appears the care provider is about to do and ask the birthing person if they have any questions about what is about to happen

What Doula’s Don’t Do→