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What is a Doula? 

The word ‘Doula’ comes from ancient meaning ‘a woman who serves’. Traditionally and in the olden day's women had other women from their community who supported them during their birth.

In more modern times we have lost the community that was there in past times and this is where a Doula comes in. Today ‘Doula’ refers to a professional, trained to provide emotional, physical and informational support to women/birthing people and their family throughout their pregnancy, birth and early postpartum period. 

 

Different from a midwife (who will mostly always be present) a Doula does not provide medical care or treatment. A doula will work as a team with your midwife during labour and birth. A Doula will guide and support you in your preparations and decisions for birth. Doulas don’t give advice, they are like a lay-friend and all the decisions are yours.

I will provide you with and direct you to evidenced based information to help you make decisions that are right for you. 

The word ‘Doula’ comes from ancient Greek meaning ‘a woman who serves’. Traditionally and in past times women had other women from their community who supported them during their birth.

In more modern times we have lost that community.  This is where having a Doula can fill that void.

Today ‘Doula’ refers to a trained non-medical professional, to provide emotional, physical and informational support to women/birthing people and their family throughout their pregnancy, birth and early postpartum period. 

 

Different from a midwife (who will mostly always be present) a Doula does not provide medical care or treatment.

 

A Doula will work as a team with your midwife during labour and birth. A Doula will guide and support you in your preparations and decisions for birth. Doulas don’t give advice; they are like a lay-friend and all the decisions are yours.

A friendly face holding your hand on your birthing journey.

As your doula, I will provide you with, and direct you to evidenced based information to help you make decisions that are right for you. 

​Birth is not a medical event but has become one with the progress in medical science. Going to hospital to give birth has become the ‘norm’ and some people don’t even know they have a choice of where they can give birth.

As part of my initial session with you we will go over your birth options. By this I mean where you can give birth and what that looks like.

Pregnant women & people are often not aware they can decline tests and suggested intervention or procedures.  It is not uncommon to just accept what you are told and to comply with requests.

Increasing numbers of women and birthing people want to be more autonomous in birth and want to avoid high levels of medical intervention. One way to do this is to educate themselves and hire a Doula to support them in this.
Doulas can help you prepare for what to expect from your health care provider and to realise ‘its your body, your baby, your choice’! But also to have confidence that you are the expert on your body and to lean into your intuition as to what you think and feel.

Your body is not a machine and is very unique, so arming yourself with information will help you to make choices that are right for you.

A Doula will help you to understand all of the implications and risks for any suggested interventions to help you to make an informed choice. Because whilst there may be some benefits for suggested interventions there will also be risks you may not be aware of that havn’t been fully explained to you.

 

Having all the information helps you to make informed choices in what is right for you and your baby.  

The word is out that homebirth is ‘risky and unsafe’ for women and babies. Thankfully this narrative is changing.

There is a lot of good quality evidence that says there are no difference in outcomes for babies born at home than in hospital but that it is safer for women to birth at home. This is because they will experience less intervention in their birth, which happens in hospital.

As a doula I have had the honour & pleasure to support many women who birthed at home. It is amazing to see women step into their power and birth in their own home with little outside interference.

Don’t take my word for it, look at some of the research results!

Sara Wickham (along with many others) is well respected within the birth community. She looks deeply to find solid evidence for policies and practices that affect pregnant and birthing women and people. She looks at the actual reasons and risk statistics to help women make the right choice for them.

Here is a link to her website to look at her work and further links to research evidence about if homebirth is safe.

Is home birth safe? - Dr Sara Wickham

Here is a preview……

In 2019, a large systematic review and meta-analysis was published in The Lancet. It looked at 14 studies including data from around 500,000 intended home births. The authors found that, “The risk of perinatal or neonatal mortality was not different when birth was intended at home or in hospital.” (Hutton et al 2019).

“A 2023 summary of the best available research published in the internationally recognized Cochrane Library shows that planned hospital births can do more harm than good.

This applies if the pregnant woman is healthy, expects an uncomplicated birth, and the birth takes place in a well-organized health care system.” (Olsen and Clausen 2023)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concern that the increasing medicalisation of childbirth tends to undermine women’s own capability to give birth and negatively impacts their childbirth experience. (Olsen & Clausen 2023).



Research shows that Doula's help you to have a positive birth experience;

  • Reduce the need for medical interventions, C-section and other invasive procedures

  • Reduce the needs for pain relief medications and epidural

  • Reduced rate of induced labour

  • Shorter labour and reduced risk of birth trauma

  • Increased parental satisfaction with their birth experience

  • Increased rate of initiating breastfeeding and successful breastfeeding at 6 weeks.

  • Reduced risk of post-natal depression


Being pregnant can be under lots of different circumstances. A woman may be pregnant but not in a relationship; your mother or sister may not be able to attend due to distance, or you may not want this. OR you may choose to have family and friends for practical and emotional support but want a Doula for specific birth support & expertise alongside family.
Or for whatever reason, your partner may not be able to be present at your birth.
 
As your Doula whilst the mother/birthing person is most important so too are their partners. Pregnancy and birth can be a scary time and birth partners may worry about the birth and how they can help their partner at this time. I am here for you too! In fact I work closely with birthing partners during labour and birth, to ensure the birthing persons voice is HEARD. 

I will meet with you and your partner prior to birth, and we will work together to prepare and plan for how you would like your birth to be. I will ensure you have all the information you need to make informed choices.

As we know birth doesn't always go according to your plan so i will help you to better understand all the options you may be offered.
We will talk a lot about Oxytocin- the birth hormone and with your permission I will guard this to help your labour progress.....

As your Doula I will provide help and suggestions on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning. I am trained in Rebozo......and Acupressure to help keep your comfortable, reduce pressure and discomfort in labour.
 
I will also support and encourage your partner to be as involved as much as they feel comfortable with.

My aim will be to help you to have a calm and informed birth.

Becoming a parent is amazing and overwhelming, heart bursting and life changing. I will help prepare you for this journey. I will feel privileged to share your precious moment in preparing for and attending your birth.

A Doula is like a Sherpa when climbing Mount Everest; an experienced person who knows the area and is familiar with the landscape, has been there many times before and speaks the native language. 
 
If a doula was a drug, it would be unethical not to use it. Dr. J.H.Kennell

Services

Birth Doula

I offer in person early labour support at your home from when you need me, (providing everyone is well and following Covid advice to reduce transmission). I can offer ongoing remote labour and birth support when Icannot be with you in person, to suit your needs; Face time/Zoom i.e. if you transfer to hospital. 

Post Birth Doula

I offer in person early labour support at your home from when you need me, (providing everyone is well and following Covid advice to reduce transmission). I can offer ongoing remote labour and birth support when Icannot be with you in person, to suit your needs; Face time/Zoom i.e. if you transfer to hospital. 

Antenatal Preparation

Congratulations,

your having a baby. What is your scale of excitement in this moment??

Preparing for having a baby is a whole journey; exciting and beautiful but also it can bring feelings of apprehension and fear. Thats why its good to be prepared, talk and learn.

This helps us to feel more confident, knowledgable and informed. This can reduce our worries and anxieties. 

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