The Certified Labor Doula

CAPPA Labor Doulas fill an important role in providing emotional, physical, and evidence-based, informational support to the birthing woman and her family before, during, and after birth.

How CAPPA Labor Doulas work with families

The Labor Doula works with families during pregnancy, during labor and in the birth process, and in the immediate postpartum time, offering support, encouragement, information, comfort, and referrals as needed.  Labor Doulas can be found working in the community in private practice, in cooperatives, as part of groups or agencies, as well as serving in various community programs.

How CAPPA Labor Doulas work within the healthcare system

Labor Doulas are skilled support persons who act as consultants and resources, not clinicians. They therefore work with the healthcare system by encouraging and promoting excellent communication between the birthing woman and the health care team, encouraging informed decision making and self-advocacy, supporting the choices of the birthing woman, providing non-clinical comfort techniques, and offering appropriate referrals when their observance or counseling uncovers situations that require healthcare attention or support.

Clinical Limitations of CAPPA Labor Doulas

CAPPA Labor Doulas are non-clinical professionals.  CAPPA Labor Doula courses do not qualify a professional to act as a midwife or midwifery assistant, as any alternative medicine provider, or as any medical care provider.  Labor Doulas do not diagnose medical conditions, perform clinical procedures, prescribe or administer treatment for medical conditions, make medical decisions for the birthing woman, or direct families to act against medical advice.

CAPPA Standards

CAPPA Labor Doulas work within CAPPA’s standards of practice to uphold the following (available to read as individual documents): code of conduct, a grievance policy, mission statement, vision statement, organization philosophy, and social media policy. CAPPA Labor Doulas use current evidence-based knowledge information in their practice. They maintain their knowledge and skills through continuing education. They work within the legal framework of their individual community and region.

CAPPA Labor Doulas:


  • Provide non-biased emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, labor and the birth process, and the immediate postpartum period

  • Work closely with the birthing woman and her family as she explores her values and needs surrounding birth

  • Encourage the birthing woman to seek care and a place of birth that reflects her values and needs

  • Assist in the preparation of birth preferences to facilitate communication with the birth team

  • Model, teach, and encourage effective communication

  • Encourage informed decision making

  • Provide information on birth options and resources

  • Provide the woman with non-medical comfort techniques for labor, such as positions and movement, comforting touch, visualization, breathing techniques, and affirmation

  • Seek to foster a cooperative, respectful, and positive atmosphere with the birth team

  • Provide support to the birthing woman’s partner or family

  • Support and assist initial breastfeeding

  • Assist the mother in processing her birth experience

  • Answer general questions about newborn care and breastfeeding

  • Refer to healthcare professionals when support requires clinical assessment, a need for prescription, or medical diagnosis

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The CAPPA Labor Doula is not a clinician and therefore does not:


  • Diagnose medical conditions

  • Perform clinical procedures

  • Interpret medical diagnoses or clinical results

  • Prescribe or administer treatment of medical conditions

  • Perform clinical procedures

  • Make decisions for the birthing woman

  • Speak for the birthing woman

  • Attend births that are intentionally unassisted by qualified medical professionals
Source: http://www.cappa.net/labor-doula