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Sentara Martha Jefferson - Maternity

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Doulas/Birth Partners

We welcome your Doula or labor support companions. In order for us to give you the best possible nursing care, we have guidelines for you to consider.

Following are the ways a labor companion can be helpful:

  • Sit with the laboring mother
  • Help with labor position changes
  • Assist with relaxation and massage
  • Reinforce (or Coach with) Breathing/Focus/Various other comfort measures
  • Provide constant reassurance and support
  • Read to or talk with the mother and partner
  • Answer the telephone
  • Write down questions for the doctor and answers for the family
  • Help with getting the mother in and out of bed, with nurse’s approval
  • Help with walking in halls
  • Help mother to the bathroom, with nurse’s approval
  • Support mother in advocating her birth plan before delivery
  • Limit the distractions in the birthing room to create a calming environment
  • Get ice, snacks and refreshments for mom and partner
  • Keep other family members and friends informed of the mother’s progress, according to the mother’s request and permission
  • Offer explanation and support of the necessity of a medical intervention outside of the mother’s wishes.

Following are the things a labor companion may never do:

  • Perform vaginal exams
  • Adjust or tamper with IV lines, fetal or maternal monitors, any clinical equipment or epidural catheters
  • Administer any medication — including herbal, tinctures, etc.
  • Hinder the medical team from proceeding with a medically necessary intervention

We encourage you to speak with your care provider or one of our certified childbirth educators when taking one of our classes to learn more about how a Doula may participate in your birth.