This week marks World Doula Week, a celebration of the wonderful things that doulas do for families during pregnancy, birth, and in postpartum. Giving Birth with Confidence recognizes doulas with this list of 10 great things birth doulas do for women and their partners during labor. Keep in mind, too, that many doulas also offer excellent assistance in the postpartum period.
1. Suggest position changes to keep your labor progressing and help you find optimal comfort.
2. Serve as a resource to help you find answers to your questions about medical procedures, interventions, and labor and birth.
3. Help your partner remember the comfort measures learned during childbirth classes.
4. Water refill duty -- yours, your partner's, and her own!
5. Provide you with a few healthy snacks or drinks from her labor bag if you've forgotten your own.
6. Call on her knowledge of comfort measures and position changes to help ease and improve back labor.
7. Offer emotional support through encouragement and understanding of where you are and what you're going through in labor.
8. Know your birth plan/preferences to help you communicate them to the nursing staff and your care provider.
9. Stay with you continuously through labor and after birth, usually until you have fed your baby for the first time.
10. Provide tips and assistance with the first time you breastfeed.