WHAT IS A DOULA?
"A Woman, as long as she lives, will remember how she was made to feel at her birth." Anna Verwaal
A doula (pronounced ‘doo’lah’) is a person who gives support, practically and emotionally during your pregnancy, your labour and birth, and after your baby is born. Doulas support women and families in all kinds of situations, who have different kinds of births and make a wide range of parenting choices. Doulas do not take a clinical role but can support a woman to find balanced information to make informed decisions about her maternity care and choices around her birth plan.
Birth Doulas provide continuous and consistent support, for women and their partners, throughout pregnancy, labour and birth and the immediate postnatal time. Postnatal Doulas provide flexible practical and emotional support postnatally for new mothers and families in their own homes. I work as both a birth and postnatal doula.
As your Doula I would encourage women to trust in their bodies and the process. For both you and your partner to be active participants in the process of birth. I would help you and your partner to identify your choices and preferences around birthing and all work together to find ways to meet your individual needs. I know that when a women feels well supported and is encouraged to make the choices that feel right for her and her baby, she can come away from any birth experience feeling positive and empowered. I do not replace the role of the partner during the birth rather I endeavour to support, reassure and help them to be the kind of presence the labouring women needs. Neither do I replace the role of the midwife, nor offer any kind of medical advice or medical intervention. We work together with the partners to create an encouraging and reassuring team of support around the labouring mother.
Research has shown that having the support of a Doula:
Reduces risk of Caesarean birth † *
Reduces risk of instrumental birth † *
Reduces need for painkillers or epiduralduring birth † *
Reduces rate of induction of labour † *.
Shortens labour †.
Increases parental satisfaction with the birth experience. †
Increases likelihood of initiating breastfeeding *.
Increases likelihood of successfully establishing breastfeeding & breastfeeding at 6 weeks *.
* Brigstocke S. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, vol 24, no 2, 2014, pp 157-160
† Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub5