What is a Doula?

"A doula gives from the heart to help another woman discover what birth and life are really all about.” –Connie Livingston

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Doula (pronounced Doo-la) is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous support to a mother before, during and after birth.  Doula comes from a Greek word meaning ‘a woman who serves’ or ‘caregiver’.

Doulas are there to ‘mother the mother’ enabling her to have the most satisfying experience she can during her pregnancy, birth and early postnatal period.

Doulas may specialise in supporting women through pregnancy, labour and birth (Birth Doulas) or in the early postnatal period (Postnatal Doulas).  Others work in both fields.

How Can a Doula Help Me?

"Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear”.  Jane Weideman

Evidence shows that it is very important for women to have continuous support through labour. Whether this is your first baby or you have given birth before, having the support of a Doula to offer unconditional support can make an enormous difference. A Doula is there to ensure that the mother’s needs are met as a priority.

In the UK today, it is unlikely that you will have a familiar midwife and continuity of support during your labour. Research has shown the numerous benefits of having a Doula, a constant and reassuring support and presence during labour (*see home page).   

What does a Doula DO and NOT do?

A Doula’s services will vary greatly according to the needs of the individual mother / parents to be. Every birth is unique and therefore every woman’s experience is unique.

However a Doula is not a medical professional and does not perform clinical tasks or offer any medical advice or diagnosis. She is not there to take over or replace the role of the husband or partner. 

She is there to provide non-judgmental practical, emotional and informational support and a reassuring, constant presence during labour and the early postnatal period putting the needs of the mother as priority.  She is there to help you know and understand your birth choices. 

Do Doulas have a particular Philosophy about birth?

Doulas are there to offer non-judgmental support during pregnancy, birth and beyond. 

Personally, I do not believe there’s a right or wrong way to give birth and /or feed your baby.  This is YOUR birth and YOUR journey and I am there to support and empower you in your choice, wherever or however you choose to give birth.  

What about my partner? Won't the doula take their place?

Not at all! The doula is there to support you and your partner. A good Doula knows not to interrupt the vital interaction between a woman and her partner and a Doula’s role is very different to that of a birth partner.  Doulas work alongside your partner providing support for them too, reassuring them along the way. 

Often your birth partner may have no or very little knowledge about birth, and labour can be overwhelming and emotional for them too! Doulas can look after the practical side of things enabling them to focus wholeheartedly on their partner and offer informational support liaising with the medical professionals to ensure your birth wishes are carved out as much as safely possible.  With a Doula and your partner, you have continuous support, encouragement, knowledge and love from all sides.

Doulas + Dads = Dream Team!

Who needs a postnatal Doula?

Your baby’s birth is only the beginning and every woman who has just given birth deserves to be cared for, nurtured and deserves a postnatal Doula. You deserve to spend precious time bonding with your new baby, taking time to rest and recover.

 

Long gone are the days when women were surrounded by extended family and continuous support during the early days of motherhood.  Often women are under such societal pressures to return to normal day-to-day life almost immediately. However with the help of a postnatal Doula, a mother can enjoy some of the benefits of a ‘lying in ‘ period enabling her to enjoy precious time bonding with her baby.

When should I begin to look for a Doula?

You can begin your search for a prospective Doula at any point but most people look for a Doula between the 4th and 6th month of pregnancy. Of course you can call a Doula at any time up to your ninth month or once the baby is born but please remember Doula’s can get booked up well in advance!

I can't afford a Doula!

Please enquire about the Doula UK Access fund or you may also like to consider asking family or friends for a Doula voucher.  Please contact me for further details.

What if my baby is already here and I have discovered I need help?

 

Please give me a call and I will do my best to support you.  I am completely aware how exhausting, overwhelming and emotional bringing home a newborn can be and it may be that you only realise you could do with some support once you are back home.

In the instance I am already booked, there is a network of fellow local Doulas I can call upon.  I will help you to put in place the support you need. 

How will I know if a Doula is right for me?

I highly recommend that you interview several Doulas to find the ‘right’ one for you.  It is not only important to find out about your potential Doula’s qualifications and experience but is vital that you feel comfortable and relaxed with your Doula as she will be supporting you at a very intimate and emotional time. Your partner should also meet the Doula as they will be working closely alongside her when the time arrives.

This is my first baby and I would like to help with baby care

Postnatal doulas love newborn babies and it is our pleasure to offer guidance with everything from breastfeeding, to bath time, nappy changing and swaddling. They are also well educated in the current baby care techniques and child related topics. Your Doula will be very happy to care for your baby while you nap or shower.