Most doula-client relationships begin a few months before the baby is due to be born, while some clients book services when pregnancy is confirmed. During this period, they develop a relationship in which the client feels free to ask questions, express fears and concerns, and take an active role in creating a birth plan.
Most doulas make themselves available to the client by phone in order to respond to questions or address any concerns that might arise during the course of the pregnancy. Doulas do not provide any type of medical care. However, they are knowledgeable in many medical aspects of labor and delivery. Therefore, they can help their clients gain a better understanding of the procedures and possible complications in late pregnancy or delivery.
During delivery, doulas are in constant and close proximity to the client. They have the ability to provide comfort with pain-relief techniques including breathing techniques,relaxation techniques, massage, and laboring positions. Doulas also encourage participation from partner and offer reassurance for the support people as well.
The goal of a doula is to help the family experience an informed, safe and positive birth. After the birth, many labor doulas will spend time helping mothers begin the breastfeeding process and encouraging bonding between the new baby and other family members.