What Service Does a Doula Offer?
"Doula" (pronounced "doola") is a Greek word meaning "woman servant or caregiver". It now refers to an experienced woman who offers emotional and practical support to a woman (or couple) before, during and after childbirth. A doula believes in “mothering the mother” - enabling a woman to have the most satisfying and empowered time that she can during pregnancy, birth and the early days as a new mum. This type of support also helps the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience.
Doula UK 2014 (see links)
I can offer antenatal doula appointments for those who may wish for doula support leading up to but not necessarily including labour. These will be tailored to the individual and cost £50 for roughly 90mins including potential follow up via email (this might include links and referneces to what we have talked about or further information to support informed decision making). These appointments may also consist of individual hypnobirthing sessions, Reiki, antenatal art... but mostly what women appreciate about these sessions is time, time to ask lots of questions, time to talk over anxieties and time to build a supportive relationship with someone who can act as your sisterly support at the same time as a sort of birth mentor who can help you prepare in ways individual to you.
Labour and birth
Your doula can support you through your pregnancy, visiting you at least twice to build a relationship and walk with you as you make your choices for birth and beyond. A doula will be available to you 24/7 from around 38 weeks and once you call her, will stay with you (and your partner), supporting the both of you, until at least 2 hours after your baby is born. She will then come and visit you once or twice postnatally, to talk through the birth, or any concerns you may have as a new parent.
Doulas are not there to be a nurse, midwife or any other kind of health professional. We are emotional and practical support through your journey, only. We will offer you information to help you make informed decisions about your care and nurture you with practical help, hints and tips for pregnancy, birth and parenting. We are like well-informed friends, sisters or mothers. We offer support without judgement, therefore empowering you to feel confident in the choices you are making.
Your doula may provide help with any or all of the following services: emotional and moral support, breast/bottle feeding support, teaching or giving help with baby basics, shopping, cooking, light housework, answering the telephone and taking messages, fielding visitors, pet and plant care, errands, help with older siblings, help with baby so that mum and dad can have time together to settle into their new roles. Although she is not there in a medical capacity, she should also be able to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary in the mother or baby and suggest when medical referrals might be in order.
Here is what the World Health Organisation have to say about Doulas:
Mothers using a labour doula were likely to have an easier and faster labour, needed fewer interventions and develop closer bonds with their babies.
- They are 50% less likely to need a caesarean section
- 40% less likely to need forceps delivery
- 60% less likely to ask for an epidural
- Labour is an average 25% shorter.
- After the birth, mothers were more likely to breastfeed and less likely to suffer from postnatal depression.
Information courtesy of Cambridgeshire Doulas (see links)
Mummy Nature is not currently taking on Doula birth clients. Antenatal appointments and Hypnobirthing classes are still available and I am happy to connect you to other doulas (most of whom can also be found on the doula uk website).