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Getting the labor support you need

Getting the labor support you need

Importance of labor support

Giving birth is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. Pregnant people who get good labor support usually view their births more positively. One of the things you can do to prepare for labor is to make sure you have good labor support.

Good labor support means getting:

  • emotional support such as reassurance and praise
  • physical support, such as help with position changes, warm or cool packs, massage
  • information and advice about the progress of labor and birthing options
  • respect, including respect of your choices

Your nurse will provide you support and help during your labor, but they will not always be with you. Talk with your partner or labor companion about the support they can give. Talking about what both of you want during labor can help clarify what you both need.

If you feel an extra person would be helpful, consider asking someone you know or hiring professional labor support (a doula).

Doula

A doula is a person who provides physical and emotional support during labor, delivery and after birth. A doula:

  • may suggest different positions for comfort
  • will work to help you relax through breathing techniques, massage, and words of encouragement
  • will help support your partner or labor companion throughout your labor and delivery

A doula can also provide support for you if you don’t have a family member or support person available to be with you during your labor and delivery.

Doulas are welcome to be a part of your birth at all Allina Health Birth Centers. If you are considering having a doula, talk about this with your health care provider as you plan for your upcoming delivery. A referral from a health care provider, family member or friend can be helpful when choosing a doula.

Doulas have a wide variety of training backgrounds. Try to get information that will help you best match your needs to the experience of your doula. If you choose to have a doula present for your birth, this person does not replace any other member of your health care team.

Please note: You will be responsible for all arrangements with your doula. Check with your doula and insurance provider to understand costs or coverage under your plan.

Visit dona.org to learn more and to find a local doula.

Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, eighth edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/06/2021