We have talked at length about the emotional, physical and educational support doulas provide. We love explaining to clients what is all entailed in our prenatal appointments, as well as the postpartum appointment. We stress to our clients that we are available by phone or text 24/7 at contract signing and that each client has a team of doulas. But what exactly do our birth doulas do in the birth room while you are laboring and pushing? The short answer is: whatever you need!
During early labor, we are in constant communication with our clients if we are not physically present with them. At this point, we are texting partners, talking on the phone with our clients, and generally being on stand by to leave our home.
Even for those clients that wish to labor at home as long as possible, there is a point in early labor where sleep and quiet is best, and there is another point when a doula’s support is best. This depends completely on the client’s wishes, and we are 100% flexible and will help you figure where you are and when you need us.
By active labor, clients usually have requested that we join them for support, be this at their home, or at the hospital or birth center. During our prenatal appointments and early labor conversations, we have discussed as a team what our support ideally would like, and so we are able to provide as close to that support as possible when active labor has begun.
Touch During Labor
As doulas, we are highly trained in how to provide comforting touch during labor and it by far is the most requested comfort measure. This may be counter pressure and hip squeezes during contractions, or a leg or hip massage after having an epidural.
We have also helped hit acupressure points to hopefully progress labor, provide a comforting hand or neck massage to relax, or even just hold hands with our clients as they labor in the bathtub. Whatever touch comfort measure that feels right for our client, is what we provide. And the best part: our pressure and where we are touching can change on a dime, just like pregnancy and birth in general.
Labor can bring up some powerful emotions, and our job as doulas is to help those powerful emotions seem less overwhelming. This could look like watching The Price is Right during a high risk induction to take some tension out of the room, hold a clients face while they have strong and fast contractions, update parents in the waiting room, or make sure that the Skype account is working for a deployed Dad to be present (all true stories). Our emotional support varies just as much as each client.
Wherever you decide to begin pushing, we will be there. We hold legs to take some pressure off of the nurses, we hold hands to take some pressure of off partners, or we hold our clients face to keep them grounded.