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What Does a Doula Bring to a Birth?

Updated: May 29, 2023

Doulas bring a lot to a birth. We bring years of experience, brains full of birth-related knowledge, hearts full of compassion and joy, and hands ready to support our clients. However, we also bring a big bag full of physical stuff too. Clients often ask what they should pack for a birth and what I’ll be bringing along. This blog post discusses the physical items that I bring in my doula bag, and how these items can help you have a great birth.


I have also provided links at the bottom of the article to the items that I bring along to births, in the case that you want to purchase some any of these items for yourself!


What Does a Doula Bring to a Birth



Labor Wrap


A labor wrap, which can also be known as a rebozo, is a long strip of fabric that can be used in numerous ways during labor. A labor wrap can be used for belly support, to assist in a double-hip squeeze, or can be used for sifting and shaking. Rebozos and labor wraps can be especially beneficial to help alleviate pain during back labor. They can also be used in a “tug of war” fashion to during the pushing stage of labor. My labor wrap is one of my favorite tools!


Essential Oils


Essential oils promote relaxation. One of my goals as a doula is to create a relaxing space for my clients to labor in, no matter where they choose to give birth. Essential oils can be diffused in the room or can be applied to cotton balls. This way, the scent can be easily removed from the room if mom decides she doesn’t like it. Some of my favorite essential oils to carry along to births are lavender, clary sage, and orange.


Handheld Fan


This small item is such a game changer. I didn’t think to bring a fan along to the first few births that I attended, and as a result I ended up fanning my hot clients with items such as the hospital binder or paper fans made from their intake paperwork. I learned my lesson and bought a small handheld fan, and I make sure that it’s packed for every birth because I use it at almost every birth I attend.


The Labor Progress Handbook by Penny Simkin


This book, written by the wonderful doula Penny Simkin, is a great resource for doulas and birth partners. It discusses the stages of labor and illustrates different laboring positions. I love this book because it’s full of ideas and resources that can be easily accessed when labor stalls or takes an unexpected turn.


Self-Care Items


You never know how long a birth will last! Some births are extremely rapid, while others can take quite some time. As a result, I always make sure that there is ample room in my birth bag for self-care items such as a toothbrush, a change of clothes, and a travel pillow and blanket. I also make sure that I bring enough snacks and a refillable water bottle.


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