Kaaiaa Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
Kaaiaa Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

    How Can Having a Doula Help During Labour and Delivery?

    Monday, December 25, 2023 11:37 PM Comment(s) By Nav Grewal, PT

    Maximize Your Birth Outcomes


    The journey of childbirth is a transformative and significant event in a woman's life. It is a time filled with emotions, physical challenges, and the need for continuous support. In recent years, the role of doulas has gained recognition for their valuable contribution to the childbirth process. A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to women and their families before, during, and after childbirth. In this article, we will explore the benefits of having a doula for labor and delivery, backed by research and statistics, highlighting the positive impact they can have on the birth experience.

    I. Emotional Support:

    A. Continuous Presence:

    1. Research indicates that having a doula present throughout labor and delivery can significantly reduce feelings of anxiety and fear, providing a calming presence.
    2. A study published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews revealed that women who had continuous support from a doula were less likely to request pain medication or interventions during labor.

    B. Personalized Care and Advocacy:

    1. Doulas build a trusting relationship with the mother and her partner, providing personalized emotional support tailored to their needs and preferences.
    2. Doulas advocate for the mother's birth preferences and help facilitate communication with healthcare providers, ensuring that her voice is heard and respected.

    II. Physical Support:

    A. Comfort Measures:

    1. Doulas are skilled in providing comfort measures, such as relaxation techniques, massage, positioning, and breathing exercises, to help manage pain and promote a more positive birth experience.
    2. According to a study published in the Journal of Perinatal Education, the presence of a doula during labor was associated with a decrease in the use of pain medication and epidurals.

    B. Labor Progress and Positioning:

    1. Doulas offer guidance on various positions and movements that can aid in optimal fetal positioning and encourage progress during labor.
    2. A systematic review published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing found that doula support was associated with a reduced risk of cesarean birth and shorter labor duration.

    III. Informational Support:

    A. Evidence-Based Information:

    1. Doulas provide evidence-based information and resources to help expectant parents make informed decisions regarding their birth preferences.
    2. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that doula support increased women's knowledge about childbirth and their ability to make informed choices.

    B. Reduced Intervention Rates:

    1. Research indicates that women who receive continuous support from a doula during labor and delivery are less likely to have interventions, including induction of labor, assisted vaginal delivery, or cesarean section.
    2. A Cochrane review of 26 studies concluded that the presence of a doula reduced the likelihood of cesarean birth by 39% and the use of synthetic oxytocin by 15%.

    IV. Postpartum Support:

    A. Breastfeeding Support:

    1. Doulas provide guidance and assistance with breastfeeding techniques, establishing a strong foundation for successful breastfeeding.
    2. Studies have shown that mothers who received doula support had higher rates of initiating breastfeeding and breastfeeding continuation.

    B. Emotional Well-being:

    1. Doulas offer postpartum emotional support, helping women navigate the challenges and adjustments of early motherhood.
    2. Research has shown that postpartum doula support is associated with improved maternal mental health and a reduced risk of postpartum depression.


    Having a doula by your side during labor and delivery can be a transformative experience. The emotional, physical, and informational support provided by doulas has been associated with numerous benefits, including reduced intervention rates, increased satisfaction with

    the birth experience, improved breastfeeding outcomes, and enhanced maternal well-being. As more research highlights the positive impact of doula support, their role in empowering women and families during childbirth becomes increasingly recognized. Considering a doula as part of the birth team can help expectant parents navigate the journey of labor and delivery with confidence, knowledge, and unwavering support.

    Nav Grewal, PT