There are a lot of things to think about when creating your birth plan. One decision that could be a good one for you is having a Doula present during your delivery. It’s a great service that can help you feel supported and empowered during one of the most important moments of your life.

Doulas provide non-medical labor support. You might think your partner can handle all the things that are needed during delivery but in reality it can be just as overwhelming for them as it is for you. A Doula is trained to be a support system for a mother and her partner. Doulas aren’t trained to do things such as heart rate checks or give medical advice. Instead they are there to offer the emotional support a woman needs during labor. This can include giving massages, aromatherapy, positive positioning and nurturing. Many Doulas also follow up with their patients to see how they’re doing with the baby at home. If your partner is nervous about the labor and delivery a Doula can help them find ways to support you. The Doula can provide tips for your partner to reduce anxiety. Studies have shown that if a woman has a strong support system during delivery labor can be shorter, it can reduce negative memories about the experience and help with breastfeeding.

When looking for a Doula talk to your partner about what you’re looking for. In America Doulas are not required to be certified but can be. It might give you piece of mind to find one that is certified and check with the organization. You can ask how they plan on supporting you and your partner. Going over your birth plan with a Doula so he or she is on the same page is also a good idea. Some hospitals offer Doula services, which can be an easy avenue to find one. If you’re giving birth from home or at a place that doesn’t offer Doulas try finding one through word of mouth. That way you’ll have a recommendation before you even meet them. A woman faces one of the hardest challenges imaginable when she gives birth. A strong support system can help her face that challenge with confidence and willpower.