coach offering labor support listening to pregnant woman's bellyLong before your due date, start talking with your family and friends about who’ll be there for your baby’s birth. Keep your approach unemotional, and use your wishes as a guide. If lots of people express that they’d like to be there, it’s good to point out that extra people in the room will make it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Remind them that it’ll be a messy event; no place for clothed relatives. Try to avoid an obvious rejection… instead, assure them of how excited you’ll be to introduce them to the baby when you’re in the Family Care or postpartum room later on.

Having support and constant encouragement during labor affects the outcome. Women with good support report a better memory of their labor. The best support person for you in labor knows you well, is calm, confident, quiet, and positive, and knows some medical procedures and terms. It is also a plus if they know labor through direct experience, attending to others through labor, or studying. The term “labor coach” often refers to a casual friend or family member supporting you. Often a partner fills that role. Professional “doulas” are paid labor coaches whose job is to provide support and information throughout your labor. If you’re interested in choosing a doula to assist you, check out Doulas of North America (DONA) online for their handy doula locator and hiring tips.