The Role of Doulas During Pregnancy and Delivery

The Role of Doulas During Pregnancy and Delivery

Discover the invaluable role of doulas during pregnancy and delivery! Explore expert insights into the support and guidance they provide. Empower your birthing experience with the compassionate care of a doula.

Doulas assist their clients in understanding their options and communicating effectively with their care providers, which may give them an increased sense of autonomy and security when making their choices.

Doulas can also assist with pain management during labor and delivery. They can advise the mother-to-be to use natural means, such as breathing techniques or massage, rather than medications.


Pregnancy and labor require many forms of support: partners, families and friends as well as various health care providers. But an increasing number of women are choosing to add one additional person – the doula. Doulas are trained professionals who provide one-on-one physical, emotional and informational support before, during and after childbirth experience.

Birth doulas (also referred to as labor companions) typically begin their work with expectant mothers during the second or third semester of gestation, assisting them in creating the type of childbirth experience they wish. A doula can assist women in creating a vision for their birth which includes where and how she’d like to give birth, positioning preferences during labor and any preferences regarding pain medication usage – among other details.

Once labor begins, doulas become present throughout, providing specific support during contractions, providing comfort techniques, and encouraging laboring individuals. Research indicates that continuous doula support can reduce oxytocin augmentation needs, instrumental vaginal deliveries and cesarean births as well as increase newborn Apgar scores and enhance birth satisfaction ratings.

Some doulas specialize in supporting low socioeconomic women and communities, recognizing the social determinants which increase maternal morbidity and mortality risk. Studies indicate that doulas can serve as tools of maternal and infant empowerment by encouraging women of color to adopt healthier prenatal behaviors.


Doulas provide comfort and assurance during an emotional, taxing phase of pregnancy: labor. They’re always available 24/7 when their clients need a doula.

Doulas provide clients with advocacy services and the information necessary for informed care decision-making, while offering comfort measures during labor and delivery such as massage and breathing techniques, counter pressure methods and position suggestions – helping ensure a more comfortable, faster labor process.

Studies have consistently demonstrated the benefits of doulas to birthing experiences. Their role serves as a secure base and their soothing touch and extended eye contact help reduce stress hormone levels, leading to a natural increase in oxytocin (the “labour” hormone) production resulting in faster labor contractions and easier delivery.

Doulas offer crucial support to women seeking both medicated and unmedicated births, working closely with medical staff to ensure patient safety. Doulas can also assist their clients during labor when complications arise such as medical emergencies or cesarean sections; according to one study of low income socially disadvantaged women who received doula care during delivery, anxiety decreased postpartum.


Doulas provide postpartum mothers with assistance in bonding with their babies and adapting to life as new mothers, such as light housework or breastfeeding support if needed. Some doulas undergo additional training so they can provide infant massage or acupressure, and may suggest nonpharmacological methods of relieving pain during labor such as the hip squeeze that many women swear by – though doulas will know when it is important to leave certain tasks such as assessing heart rates to trained healthcare providers.

One study discovered that women participating in an enhanced prenatal group program who worked with doulas experienced better birth outcomes, including lower rates of complications and cesareans. Since the participants voluntarily chose doulas as part of the program, these results don’t necessarily demonstrate that doulas actually improved birth outcomes – it may simply increase confidence of these women that they could take control over their own pregnancy outcomes through working with doulas as well as education and peer support activities.

As these participants were matched early on with doulas as part of this type of support, it appears that doulas may have played an instrumental role in their successful outcomes. Other studies have demonstrated how doulas can reduce epidurals and other medical interventions by keeping women informed and empowered throughout labor.


Doulas can be invaluable partners during any birth plan, from medicated to unmedicated birth. A doula can assist in managing potential side effects from medications while supporting you through their effects. Studies have also shown that doulas increase vaginal birth rates while decreasing medical interventions needed and decreasing chances of cesareans which can result in serious infections, blood clots or heart complications for mom and baby.

Doulas can provide invaluable assistance during labor. Doulas help women understand and express their preferences to medical staff for an overall better experience – doulas can even accompany women into surgery if desired!

Doulas have been proven to reduce the likelihood of cesarean and improve breastfeeding outcomes, according to research. Furthermore, doulas may help bridge any disparate maternal/infant health outcomes between populations with different socioeconomic statuses.


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