Getting the labor support you need

Importance of labor support

Giving birth is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. Women 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.

  • 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 she will not always be with you. Talk with your partner or labor companion about the support he or she can give. Talking about what both of you want during labor can help clarify what you both need.

What is a doula?

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

A doula is someone who knows the process of labor and birth, a variety of physical comfort measures, and how to provide emotional support. Her role is to support you and whomever you choose to be with you. She does not take the place of anyone. A doula can also provide support if you don't have a labor companion. For more information go to the doula labor support section on our resources page.

Check with your insurance provider to see if hiring a doula is covered under your plan.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/02/2015