Doulas Aren’t Canceled

Covid-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty to the world, especially to those who are pregnant and about to give birth. With ever changing protocols and hospital rules, it can add extra stress during an already vulnerable time. While support may look different during this pandemic, a doula can still be an important part of your birth team and can help you get the support and birth you are hoping for. I’ve put together some information about what doula support might look like, even during a pandemic.

Doula supports a client through a contraction

Why Hire a Doula

Doula support is valuable in many different ways, and a lot of it is even before labor begins. Hiring a doula means prenatal support, often in the form of prenatal meetings. During these meetings, I discuss the birth process, options for your birth, and help sort through what your birth preferences are, often resulting in a formal or informal birth plan. These meetings also go through individualized comfort measures and can help you and your partner better at communicating and working together during labor.

This support lasts beyond our one on one meetings too. You can contact me for any questions that come up from appointments, strange things you experience, or any ideas that occur to you. I love researching and sending on any information on procedures, birth options, or anything else you may want to learn more about but might be worried about Googling yourself. I’ve also been keeping up with the latest hospital protocols regarding COVID-19 as well as keeping up with the ACOG and other medical body’s recommendations and research regarding pregnancy and COVID.

Doula support for labor also has a myriad of benefits during labor. As your doula, I work for you and am looking out for your interests, not the doctor or hospital’s. As someone trained in common procedures that may come up during birth, I can assist you in asking questions to make informed decisions as your labor unfolds. With some technological support, I can still provide continuous support during labor, versus the changes of hospital staff and intermittent check-ins from your medical care provider.

A doula refills a drink of someone laboring in a labor pool

There is also a lot of research evidence that supports better outcomes for labors that use doula support. Some of these benefits include a dramatic decrease in c-sections, fewer medical interventions, decrease use of medications for pain relief, and better newborn APGAR scores. More importantly, doula supported births are shorter on average and have a higher percentage of satisfaction with the birthing experience. For more information about research regarding doula, check out Evidence Based Birth’s article on doula support.

Support During Covid

I have been offering virtual doula services since I began my business, so luckily a lot of this isn’t new for me. While things might not be ideal, there is still a lot I can do remotely if that is safest or necessary for your situation. Prenatals can be done via video chat and phone, text, and email help is already remote.

Labor support is highly dependent on the person, situation, and location of delivery. For local clients, I can include in person support at your home for early labor or if you are planning a homebirth. Depending on the hospital or birth center policies at the time of your delivery or your support person preference, I may be able to accompany you to your chosen place of delivery. If this is not possible, I can continue to support you and your partner via phone, video, or text support in whatever way you prefer. While this may sound inadequate, there is a lot I can tell about birth from just listening and watching. Early labor can also be a great time for me to see what you respond to in labor and help your partner in some hands on training in how best to help you. While working this partner coaching is not unique to virtual support, it is much more important during virtual labor support.

Partner holds a laboring person’s hand through a contraction

I also offer a 100% virtual support package. This package looks very similar to the in person labor support, except every part is planned to be remote, including prenatal meetings, labor support, and the postpartum meeting. Much like above, I can show and talk your labor support person through physical comfort measures and provide emotional and informational support through your labor as it unfolds. This has the advantage of me not having to drive to you or back home during your labor, so I can maintain the same support throughout your entire labor without interruptions. 

My newest package is birth preparation. This includes the prenatal meetings, unlimited phone and email support and the postpartum meeting. This package is great for people that need extra help in sorting through their birth options and would like support throughout their pregnancy and into labor but don’t necessarily want labor support or to deal with the extra technological issues that may be a part of the birth process right now. This package does not include being on call to be immediately accessible during your labor, though I will answer questions if I am available.

Virtual support is just a click away

If nothing seems to perfectly fit your birth needs, I am happy to work with you to create a unique birth package for your needs, including birth only plans, sibling doula for home and birth center births or other birth needs you may have.

You can look at the Pregnancy and Labor Support page for more information or you can contact me for questions or to schedule a free consult.

Dos and Don’ts of Early Labor

Expectant families spend a lot of time at the end of pregnancy feeling anxious. The anticipation and trepidation of impending labor and an expanding family brings a mixture of feelings from many expecting parents. Every blip, bump, and cramp is interpreted as a possible sign that labor is imminent, and the constant living on high alert sometimes predisposes people to take too much action too soon when labor finally begins. 

A pregnant woman at the start of her labor stretches for a moment between contractions. She looks a bit nervous about the delivery ahead.

Early labor has many names: prodromal labor, pre-labor, or false labor. This is the first phase of the first stage of labor and is often the longest, lasting approximately twelve hours for a first time parent but sometimes lasting for days. Most practitioners define early labor as contractions up to four centimeters, though many other cervical changes may be happening during the early stages of labor too, so don’t get too hung up on the number. A few simple tips can help get you through early labor and get you into the best place possible for active labor.

Don’t stay up all night

Labor tends to begin at night when it’s dark, you’re relaxed, and your body knows it’s safe. It can also be really easy to want to jump into action when those first twinges of labor begin, but resting is one of the best ways to set yourself up for labor. Labor is more of a marathon than a sprint, so taking it easy and sleeping or resting while you can is going to do you more good in the long run. Early labor can last a long time, and you don’t want to start active labor already exhausted. If you really need help relaxing so you can get some sleep, taking a nice bath can help you relax and can even slow your contractions down enough for some good rest. Check with your healthcare provider, though, if you’re water has already broken.

Woman taking a bath to relax

Don’t time every contraction

Time will seem to take forever if your eyes are fixed on the clock and timing every contraction. Early labor can take a long time, and staring at the clock can make it feel much much longer. You can time a few contractions every few hours or when your contraction pattern seems to change. You’ll want to especially take note when you can’t talk through your contractions anymore or they require your full attention to cope. Even better if you can put your partner in charge of timing things so you don’t have to focus on the numbers at all.

Don’t call everyone immediately

You may have friends, family, doula, midwife, or dog sitter you need to or want to notify when labor begins. But unless you specifically need to have someone come immediately (out of town family, history of fast labors, other complications) no need to get all hands on deck immediately. Having more people in your home watching you is more likely to stress you out and slow labor down than help things. You could also put yourself in the situation where your friends and family are constantly texting and calling you for updates when you should be sleeping or focusing on labor. You should, however, follow your healthcare provider’s protocols on when to call them and when to come in. Your doula should also provide information about when and how they would like to be contacted when you are in labor. 

Don’t start all your coping techniques

You may feel excited heading into early labor and eager to finally get to use the coping techniques you’ve been learning and practicing as you prepare for labor. But, immediately pulling everything out of your bag of tricks may desensitize you to the effectiveness of these coping techniques once active labor begins and you need them the most, making active labor more difficult and may lead to unwanted interventions.  Keeping calm and relaxed in early labor is your better alternative and only using the coping techniques you absolutely need to manage contractions.



Ignore what is happening for as long as you can. Go about your day as normally as possible for as long as possible. Go to the grocery store, complete those errands you were going to run, even go to work if you feel up to it. Remember, early labor can last for awhile, and it’s best to keep as close to your usual routine as possible. So, as long as you are able to ignore your contractions, ignore them.

Woman ignoring the world around her with headphones


If you’re finding it hard to just ignore your early labor, try distraction. Watching your favorite comedy show (I wouldn’t recommend a horror film), going for a walk, or some activity that requires your full attention can be especially helpful. Many people in labor make protein rich labor snacks or freezer meals for after the baby comes. Others work on craft projects they’ve been meaning to start. During the day, going for a nice walk can provide a nice distraction while simultaneously help baby move into a more favorable position, just don’t overdo it. 


Relaxation can help you rest as well as encourage the production of labor inducing hormones. Try whatever is relaxing to you (within reason). Taking a bath is a common suggestion, especially if you’re having a hard time getting to sleep. Other suggestions can be a massage, a relaxing meal, meditation, or listening to relaxing music. A truly relaxing environment will make you feel safe and calm, which can nudge your body into active labor.

Young pregnant woman having massage in spa salon

These tips may not guarantee an easy labor, but it they will help you enter active labor as calm as and rested as possible, which will help your energy and mood.

Want some more help or support for your labor? Set up a free consultation to see how doula could benefit you and your birth.