What is a Birth Doula?

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A birth doula will go “on-call” for 4 weeks, starting on the 38th week of your pregnancy (usually until the 42nd week). In this period they will be available 24/7. The doula will come to you when you are in labour usually before you transfer to your chosen place of birth (or before the midwives arrive if you are planning a home-birth).  

They will support you through your labour, birth and immediate postpartum period to the best of their ability for you to have an empowered birthing experience.

Birth doulas support pregnant people and families through their pregnancy, birth and immediate postpartum period. Doulas support you in your choices around birth and will be there whether you decide for a home water birth, a hospital birth or birthing in a birth centre.

The main role of a doula is to support you and your family emotionally, mentally and physically, as well as provide you with resources and information.

Doulas do not advise, rather they point you to balanced and often evidence-based information. They also encourage you to listen to your intuition, and support you in your choices.

Antenatally, your chosen doula will meet you at least twice before your birth (in addition to the interview). Your doula will be available to support you via the phone or email to answer any questions or concerns that may arise in this period. They will get to know you and you birth preferences in order to provide the best support to you during labour, birth and the immediate postnatal period.

Whenever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life.

If a woman doesn’t look like a Goddess during labor, then someone isn’t treating her right.

INA MAY GASKIN

Why hire a Birth Doula?

Birth doulas support pregnant people and families through their pregnancy, birth and immediate postpartum period. Having a Doula can come from a mental need for support and for someone to hold that space for you. There are also lots of benefits that statistics show. Evidence-Based Birth states the use of a Doula means there is a:

· 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin

· 28% decrease in the risk of caesarean section

· 12% increase in the likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth

· 9% decrease in the use of pain relief medications

· 14% decrease in the risk of new-borns admitted to NICU

· 34% decrease in risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience.

As these statistics show, there are better outcomes and an improved experience. This is due to the duration of the labour shortening alongside the lowering of caesareans and the use of instruments. Birth is intense, a Doula can provide a calm, encouraging presence, which can eliminate fear and therefore decrease pain. Well informed & non-judgemental Doula support helps the birthing person to adjust when circumstances deviate from their ideal birth plan. Guidance and encouragement minimise fear & anxiety. This leads to increased parental satisfaction.

 

A Doula is not only just there for your birth though.

Educational support and information are given prior to labour and delivery, they will assist with the birth plan/wish list and explain integral parts of the experience. They thrive on helping you understand what your body is doing, what is natural, what is not & what your options are.

A Doula will be at your birth no matter what, no matter where, no matter when. They’re on call from 2 weeks before and until 2 weeks after. They commit to being at your birth, a duty that isn’t taken lightly. And amazingly it improves outcome equality across the socioeconomic divide. Access to Doulas mitigates negative influence that economic & social factors have on birth outcomes.

And if all these amazing statistics and outcome differences aren’t enough, there is more.

Think about what a Doula does, can do and will do for both you and your birthing team.

There will be knowledge and experience offered during labour and delivery, as well as reassurance, encouragement and comfort. These are a Doula’s strongest tools of trade alongside helping with pain management and comfort inducing, that comes in the form of foot and back rubs in labour, pressure point massage, counter pressure, rebozo techniques and water comfort. Birth partners can benefit greatly from this too, as they can panic or become anxious whilst watching a loved one in labour. A Doula can offer to show the partner how they can serve the birthing person. A Doula will support you no matter what happens.

Think about Advocacy — this is defined as supporting the birth person in their right to make decisions about their own body and baby. If this isn’t enough, a Doula works for YOU, no worries of thinking or having interest in anything but your birthing experience, you, your baby, and your birth plan.

A Doula will never ask “Have you had your baby yet?”- they will tell you to listen to your body & baby. During your labour there will be no leaving at a shift change, they will be there for the entire experience, telling you that you are beautiful, believing you are beautiful, because you are, and building you up, as you’re an amazing incredible human who is about to give birth to another amazing and incredible human.

You are never going to forget your birthing experience! And your Doula probably won’t either. It is special to your Doula too and a great privilege. As birth is a team effort, a Doula will allow for your birth partner to eat, grab a cuppa or go to the bathroom, all whilst knowing you are not alone. This helps your birth partner to take care of themselves and allows them to better support you.

It is important to know that for all the things a Doula can do, there are things they DON’T do. They:

· DON’T perform clinical tasks

· DON’T give medical advice

· DON’T make decisions for clients

· DON’T pressure the birthing person into certain choices

· DON’T take over the role of birth partner

· And they DON’T catch the baby!

So, I guess the question I would ask now instead of Why Hire a Doula?

Would be:

Why Not??

DISCLAIMER

We do not vet our doulas – this is a simple directory to make it easier for you to find the right doula for your needs based on location and skills. We do not take responsibility for any doula listed on this site.  Please do your due diligence when contacting Doulas and ask for credentials and qualifications during your interview. We trust your ability to make decisions for yourself.