The role of a doula is to provide emotional, physical, and educational support for both you and your partner. They assist in labor by suggesting non-drug pain-relief techniques such as, changing positions, breathing, relaxation, and massage.

What is a Doula? 

A doula is a person who is trained to give labor support before, during, and just after childbirth. Doulas may be certified by Doulas of North America (DONA). 

What Can a Doula Do for You? 

A  doula can: 

  • Help you and your partner prepare for and carry out your plan for giving birth.
  • Stay with you during labor and give physical and emotional support. 
  • Give emotional support and suggestions to your partner. 
  • Suggest comfort measures such as massage, positioning, and other non-drug pain relief. 
  • Encourage good communication with medical and nursing staff. 
  • Bring labor support items such as massage oils, hot or cold packs, music and flowers. 

What is a Doula Not Allowed to Do? 

The doula cannot:

  • Speak for you. Medical caregivers need to hear from you.
  • Make decisions for you. 
  • Express approval or disapproval of your decisions during birth. 
  • Give any medical advice or recommend any pain-relief medicines.
  • Conduct any clinical actions such as vaginal exams, checking the baby's heartbeat, or taking vital signs.
  • Prescribe any medicines.
  • Deliver the baby. 
  • Take over your partner's role as your main support. 

Essentia's Expectations of a Doula

  • The doula will meet the education and certification requirements of Essentia Health. 
  • The doula will complete an orientation to Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical center. 
  • The doula will follow the DONA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and the Essentia Health Code of Ethical Behavior. 
  • The doula must wear an Essentia Health ID badge while in the hospital.
  • The doula must follow Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center guidelines for practice. 
  • After each birth, the patient and nurse will complete an evaluation of the doula.