Congratulations you’re pregnant!
Now’s the time to start thinking about employing a great Doula.
What ‘s a Doula?
- A Doula is a professional Birth Partner, usually an experienced mother herself, she will have attended many births and supported women and their families through pregnancy, birth and in the postnatal period.
- Some offer additional services such as homoeopathy, massage, aromatherapy, hypnobirthing, nutritional advice, yoga sessions among others.
- Most work as part of a small team or duo, ensuring that nothing can prevent them getting to a mother, most doulas move heaven and earth to support their women. Personally, I’ve missed birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and even religious celebrations to attend births and I wouldn’t have had it differently.
- Having a Doula with you throughout labour significantly reduces your risk of intervention (source)
- Doulas work with you, your partner and family, ensuring a calm environment for you to labour in.
- Postnatally, when you are focused on your newborn a Doula will ensure you get the rest you need. Taking over household chores, cooking nutritious hot meals. In fact, many have a meal preparation service where they will cook and freeze several main meals of your choice and freeze them for you.
- Reassurance is a big part of a Doulas role, reminding you that what is happening’s normal. Newborns are funny little creatures and it’s great to have a sympathetic woman to call on day or night to ask all your questions to.
What to look for in a Doula.
When you decide to hire a Doula you should have a list of what you and your family need, here’s a few pointers to think about.
- Do you feel comfortable with her? Ideally, you should feel she’s a friend, someone you can trust.
- Does she respect your needs and wishes? A Doula should never tell you about her births or preferences, this is all about you and what you want.
- Have you explored all your options, has she assisted you to do so? I always try to talk to mothers about all the options, some of which they may not have realised are there.
- A doula doesn’t have medical training, we are emotional and physical supporters, not midwives. Never employ a doula who offers to “deliver” your baby without a midwife, she will be putting your life and your child’s at risk.
- How does she relate to midwives? Great Doulas have built long and trusting relationships with the local midwives. She might even serve on advice bodies to local birth centres or hospitals.
- Lastly, ask her for references if she doesn’t offer them. Speak to her former clients, what was their birth experience like? Did they have postnatal support?
I am an experienced and retired Doula, I had the honour of supporting women for over a decade throughout London. After training with world renowned Dr Michel Odent in 2005. I’m also a mother of four boys and a veteran home educator, an alternative education expert and wife to a very patient man.
Here’s an interview I did for Sisters Magazine back in my Doula days.