Resources for Labor Support During Pregnancy and Childbirth

Childbirth Connection's Pregnancy Topic on Labor Support

We provide in-depth coverage through our Pregnancy Topic to help inform you about labor support:
  • Labor Support Introduction explains the importance of having continuous supportive care during labor
  • Labor Support Options includes a look at types of labor support companions, and their strengths and weaknesses
  • Labor Support Best Evidence includes a look at several systematic reviews carried out to help you make informed decisions about continuous labor support
  • Labor Support Tips & Tools includes factors you should consider when deciding what kind of labor support you want
  • Quick Facts About Labor Support (PDF) summarizes some of the important points from this section such as the meaning of continuous labor support, types of people who can provide it, best evidence about effects of labor support, and how to learn more and find key resources.

Other Childbirth Connection Resources Relating to Labor Support

Resources to Learn About Doulas (Labor Assistants)

DONA International, in addition to serving as an important resource for doulas, the DONA International website of DONA has excellent resources for women who are considering working with a doula.

DONA International Position Paper: The Birth Doula's Contribution to Modern Maternity Care

The Doula Advantage: Your Complete Guide to Having an Empowered and Positie Birth with the Help of a Professional Childbirth Assistant by Rachel Gurevich
pregnancy book
The Doula Advantage: Your Complete Guide to Having an Empowered and Positive Birth with the Help of a Professional Childbirth Assistant (2003), by Rachel Gurevich.

In The Doula Advantage, you will learn the many ways doulas provide labor support, whether you plan a "natural" or medicated birth, how to find, hire, and choose the right doula, how specialized doulas can help you before or after the baby's birth, how doulas help the dad-to-be, and more.

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The Doula Book, by Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell, and Phyllis H. Klaus, a pregnancy book
pregnancy book
The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth (2002), by Marshall H. Klaus, John H. Kennell, and Phyllis H. Klaus.

Real-life examples of the interaction among the doula, the mother, and her partner illuminate what it's like to work with a doula. Appendixes provide detailed information about the training of doulas, the techniques that they employ, and the results of clinical trials of labor support.

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The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets Every Pregnant Woman Should Know, by Ananda Lowe and Rachel Zimmerman
pregnancy book
The Doula Guide to Birth (2009), by Ananda Lowe and Rachel Zimmerman

This book describes how doulas guide women through the birthing process in ways that are safe and meaningful, and that create the birth and postbirth experience mothers long for. Written by an experienced doula and an award-winning health reporter, the book addresses what doulas do, how each woman can find a doula that suits her needs and preferences, and the tricks of the trade for supporting a women in labor and after birth.

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Lamaze International: Healthy Birth Practices: Bring a Loved One, Friend or Doula for Continuous Support, resources include a position paper reviewing the research evidence for continuous support, a video of women laboring with doula support, and tips for finding a doula.

Social Support by Doulas During Labor and the Early Postpartum Period (PDF), by Bruce Meyer, Jane Arnold, and Debra Pascali-Bonaro, an article from Hospital Physician (2001).

The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer, a pregnancy book
pregnancy book
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (1999), by Henci Goer. (See chapter 11.)

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Helpful Resource for a Friend or Family Member Who Will Provide Labor Support for You

Your partner or a friend or family member who will provide support during your labor and birth can grow in knowledge and confidence with a book by a founder of DONA International that was written just for them:

The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth by Penny Simkin, a pregnancy book
pregnancy book
The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions (3rd edition, 2008), by Penny Simkin.

Wise resource to help your spouse/partner, friend or another companion give you the special and powerful gift of continuous support as you give birth. Includes many labor "comfort measures" and strategies for difficult labors that can make all the difference for you.

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Comfort Measures in Labor

Comfort Measures for Childbirth

The 91-minute DVD is divided into 4 sections: 1) Basic relaxation and rhythmic breathing, 2) Comfort measures, devices, and positions, 3) Techniques to help with back pain and labor progress, and 4) Positions and techniques for pushing and birth. The detailed interactive menu allows you to choose exactly what you want to watch the entire DVD, a single section, or even a single comfort measure to learn or review.

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Resources to Find a Local Doula (Labor Assistant)

Birth Works: Find a Doula, an online directory.

Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association: Find a Childbirth Professional, an online directory of CAPPA members who choose to be listed; you can also call their toll-free number (888-548-3672) or contact to get referrals for doulas who are not listed in the online directory.

DONA International: Find a Doula, an online directory of DONA-certified doulas who choose to be listed online; you can also contact to get names of doulas who are not included in the online directory by choosing the e-mail option (be sure to give your town and zip code).

Doula Match, an interactive directory that lets you search for doulas available around the time of your due date, check their credentials, and read testimonials from former clients.

toLabor, an online directory of certified professional birth doulas.

International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)'s online directory
, names, credential and towns of ICEA-certified doulas; you can also get referrals by calling ICEA at 952-854-8660 or contacting

List of Volunteer Doula Programs, hospital and community-based programs matching volunteer doulas with women who cannot afford to pay for private doula services.

© 2016 Childbirth Connection. All rights reserved.

Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 6/17/2013