A Doula is a companion, usually a woman, who supports parents during pregnancy, labour, birth and early parenting. Doulas are not medically trained and do not carry out any medical procedures or diagnosis. They are experienced in childbirth and understand the physiology of birth, and have great understanding of early parenting.
What a Doula Will Do
Doulas are trained to provide one-to-one care, and will always be there for women and their partners for information, physical and emotional support and nurturing during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. A Doula will always support you no matter what decisions you make or how you decide to give birth and is non-judgemental. Doulas recognises birth as a key life experience that will always be remembered and through nurture protect this memory.
- A Doula will always be with you throughout your birth
- She will educate you and your partner in the physiology of birth and make sure you are as well prepared for the birth
- Offer you evidence based information and education so that you have the confidence to make your own informed choices about pregnancy, birth , feeding, sleep, physical recovery from birth and early parenting skills that are right for you
- She will make sure you have the right environment to birth your baby and protect your birth space
- She will support your partner and help them best support you
- She will facilitate communication between you, your partner and the medical team making sure that you are listened to and you feel in control of your own birth
- She will bring a continuous kind and gentle presence. Reassurance, encouragement, company and a caring attitude to you and your partner
- Signpost you when needed to the appropriate support
- Help you with the adjustment within the family of a new baby
- Support you to find your own way of doing things
- She will be there for you 100%
What a Doula won’t do:
- Will not perform any medical procedures
- Will not diagnose any conditions
- Does not replace your midwife
- Does not make recommendations or decisions for you
- Does not replace your birth partner but supports them too
- Will not limit the amount of hours she is with you during your labour
- Will never judge you
Doulas and your partner
A Doula is not there to replace your partner but is there to support both of you and works with you both as a team.
The partner and Doula have very different relationships with the birthing mother. The partner has the intimacy with the mother that no one else can replace. This intimacy should never be underestimated in assisting with the relaxation of the mother and the ability to release the body’s natural hormone (Oxytocin or the ‘love hormone’), which is so key in helping the labour to progress naturally and make the contractions manageable. This hormone Oxytocin is released when a woman feels safe, calm and loved.
Doulas are taught to respect this intimacy and give the couple space but also the right support when they need it. Doulas can guide the partner and help them find the best way to support the birthing mother.
Our Doula Support
Distance or Virtual Doula
Due to the COVID-19 crisis Doula support had to go almost completely virtual via Zoom, Facetime and other video link platforms. This has been a different way of working, but it has meant that Doulas have had to get good at working in this way.
It has also meant that many more people can access the support of a Doula that might not have been able to before. Birth Preparation workshops can be done online and support during pregnancy, birth and the weeks following the birth can be done via a video link platform. It is not the same as a face to face relationship with your Doula but it is getting better all the time as technology improves.
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