What is a Doula?
The word ‘doula’ — pronounced ‘doo-la’ — is a Greek word meaning ‘woman servant or caregiver’. More recently, it refers to someone who offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth. A doula believes in ‘mothering the mother’. She enables a woman and her partner to have the most satisfying birth experience possible, from pregnancy and into motherhood. This type of support allows the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience too.
From DONA International…
“Women have complex needs during childbirth. In addition to the safety of modern obstetrical care, and the love and companionship provided by their partners, women need consistent, continuous reassurance, comfort, encouragement and respect. They need individualised care based on their circumstances and preferences. The role of the birth doula encompasses the non-clinical aspects of care during childbirth.”
Doulas are trained and experienced in childbirth and. While they have good knowledge and awareness of the birth process, a doula does not support the mother in a medical role. That is the job of the midwife or doctor. A doula helps to keep birth normal (if that is the wishes of the birthing mother), and is a valuable addition to the birth team. Should a birth become complicated and require medical assistance, a doula will still remain by your side and help in any way she can. She will not make decisions for those she supports, but she will assist them through the decision making process. A doula provides balanced information so the couple can make their own choices.
Given the long term emotional and physical effects that medical births can have on the mother, her partner and baby, a doula is a valuable asset to your birth team. By amping up your support team with experienced, continuous care from a doula, you’re giving yourself an increased chance at a better experience. Your support team are the people you will rely on to get you through your toughest, most intense moments. How well they hold the space and support you can impact on the outcome of your birth. With a doula, you know that someone is always on YOUR team, holding the space for you and your family. She works for you (and your partner) and has your best interests at heart.
Are there proven benefits?
Yes! Reviews of many studies from around the world have concluded that a doula’s support is more effective than hospital staff, friends or family. Studies (and reviews of the studies) consistently demonstrate very impressive benefits for the mother, father and baby, including:
Fewer caesarean sections
Reduction in the use of forceps and vacuum
Fewer requests for epidurals
Reduction in the use of synthetic oxytocin for inductions or augmentations
Reduction in use of pain medication
Reduction in labour length
Increased rates of breastfeeding at 6 weeks post-partum
Higher self-esteem, less anxiety and less depression at 6 weeks post-partum
*Click here to see a video about Doulas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMzpyR_iPng
Why a DONA International doula?
She is well trained, understands the role of a birth doula clearly and has agreed to the code of conduct and standards of practice set forth by DONA International. DONA International sets the bar for doula education and professional development. It indicates to families that a doula has achieved a high level of training and professionalism.
Some comments from past clients:
“Your positivity, calm demeanour and expertise were so crucial in guiding us through T’s arrival, We can’t thank you enough!!”
“From the first time we met you I felt a connection and we quickly began to look forward to your visits. You provided so much information and relieved so many of my fears each time we talked. I appreciated each and every text message. When I reflect back on my labour and delivery, you are the voice helping e focus making it through each and every contraction, You will forever be a part of the most amazing day or our lives and I can’t imagine it any other way. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your support both before and after her birth. I know the hours are crazy and you don’t get paid what you are worth, but you have an amazing gift. You bless the lives of the people you support.”
“Thank you for being there during a very important time in my life. P’s birth was just as it should be and you were the constant, positive force that made it that way!”
“Thank you!! You must have an idea how amazing you are! We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
“Thank you so much so much for being with us before, during and after we had L. You helped us remain calm and gave us confidence. It would have been so different if you were not with us.”