WHAT A LABOR DOULA DOES:

Provides physical support - COMFORT

  • Touch — massage, acupressure, or with a rebozo

  • Hydrotherapy — warm shower or birth pool

  • Applying heat or cold for desired temperature

  • Creating a calm environment through music (or silence), adjusting lighting, and minimizing outside noise or talking

  • Assisting with walking, swaying, changing position

  • Offering water, ice, food, other comfort items

Provides emotional support - PROTECTED, EMPOWERED, CONFIDENT

  • Continuous presence throughout labor

  • Verbal encouragement, praise and reassurance (“normalizing” the experience)

  • Mirroring the birthing person’s experience and matching the feeling and tone

  • Remaining calm and steady, showing a caring attitude

  • Empathizing with the birthing person, supporting what they want

  • Talking through fears and self-doubt with birthing person and their partner

  • Re-framing circumstances to help birthing person view themselves and their situation more positively

  • Processing the birth story postpartum - empathizing and clarifying when appropriate

Provides informational support  - EVIDENCE-BASED DECISIONS

  • Multiple, thorough prenatal meetings to discuss all aspects of childbirth 

  • Help with creating a birth preferences document to provide to care providers

  • Providing resources and evidence-based information for making decisions throughout pregnancy and childbirth 

  • Guiding birthing person and their partner through labor with relaxation, breathing, movement and positioning techniques

  • Helping explain medical procedures before or as they occur, facilitating communication with care providers

Advocacy - “...supporting the birthing person in their right to make decisions about their own body and baby.” - www.evidencebasedbirth.com

  • Asking the birthing person what they want, and unconditionally supporting their decision 

  • Encouraging birthing person and their partner to ask questions, verbalize their preferences, and creating space to make unpressured decisions

  • Amplifying the birthing person’s voice if she is being dismissed, ignored, or not heard by the care providers “Excuse me - I believe she is trying to say something, I’m not sure if you heard her…”

 
WHAT A LABOR DOULA DOES NOT DO:

  • Provide medical diagnoses or perform procedures of any kind

  • Make judgments or offer personal opinions

  • Take the place of the partner

  • “Catch” the baby

Portland Birth Labor Doula Photographer
Portland Labor Birth Newborn Photographer Doula