bristol • north somerset • south gloucestershire

Support during labour and birth

You are encouraged to bring one or two birth partners for emotional and physical support during labour and birth. Having continuous support during labour tends to reduce the need for pain relief, increases your chance of a normal birth, and makes for a better experience, as shown by a large evaluation of research involving more than 15000 women. 

Some women like to have lots of physical support, like massage, while others don't want to be touched and retreat into their own world, but either way it is beneficial to have someone who is there for you.

You can bring your life partner, family members or friends, or you can hire a doula (a trained supporter). If you are having a caesarean birth, one birth partner can come into theatre with you.


Birth Doulas

A doula is specially trained to give emotional and physical support to a pregnant woman, her birth partner and family through her labour and birth, and sometimes into the early few weeks with a new baby (Postnatal Doula). Doulas have a good understanding of women’s bodies and the birth process, and are usually mothers themselves. They charge a fee for their services.

Doula UK. The largest association for doulas in the UK.  Doulas registered with Doula UK agree to the network’s Code of Conduct.  They have a separate Recognition Process which distinguishes those doulas that have achieved a particular level of skill and experience. 

The Doula Directory. Doulas are registered with Nurturing Birth, and take part in a rigorous mentoring process. 

NCT Birth Companions. A birth doula service for parents through late pregnancy, labour, birth, and the first few hours with their new baby.

Relaxed Birth and Parenting Doulas. Local doula provision in Bristol and surrounding areas