1. Continuity of support through pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatally.
2. Support at home in labour before going to the hospital or calling the midwives.
3. Support for the entire family, as well as Mum.
4. Lower risk of caesarean birth.**/*
5. Less risk of an instrumental delivery.**
6. Less need for an epidural or painkillers during birth.**/*
7. Lower rate of induction of labour.**
8. Shorter labour.**
9. Greater likelihood of successfully establishing breastfeeding.*
10. Flexible support at home in the early weeks with a new baby.
**Hodnett, ED, Gates, S, Hofmeyr, GJ & Sakala, C. Continuous support for women during childbirth, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 3.
* Brigstoke S. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, vol 24 no 2, 2014, pp 157-160.
There are many misconceptions about what a Doula is. I can’t blame anyone. I didn’t know what one was myself not so long ago. Then I met a lovely Doula called Lisa a few years back and knew that it was something I wanted to change my life to do.
A Doula is a woman who supports a woman throughout pregnancy, in childbirth (alongside a midwife) and at home in the early days of parenting. Supporting a woman (and usually her partner) usually starts in pregnancy by providing information around birth which often takes many of their fears away. When a Doula reminds people that we are the only species that doubts its ability to give birth, it is often the beginning of a very special relationship between a woman (or a couple) and their Doula which can last for many years. I have a huge amount of respect for midwives and the work that they do but I have no desire to be one. I have a friend who trained as a midwife but has now become a doula because, in her experience, there just wasn’t time for her to fulfil a nurturing role as a midwife as well as a medicalised one. It saddens me to see how much a midwife has to sit and write during a labour to make sure every single aspect of it has been recorded.
A Doula is there through the woman’s pregnancy, listening without judgment to any concerns, offering evidence based information around different types of childbirth and parenting . Often it means walking alongside a woman, championing her every step of the way. As soon as labour starts, a woman calls her Doula who will come to her at home as soon as she wants them to come. The Doula will then offer continuous support and will not leave her side until after her baby has been born, either at home or in hospital.
So do you really need a Birth Doula?
Only you can decide that. I haven’t met anyone yet who regrets having one!
They are especially popular with women who didn’t get the birth experience they were expecting, or hoping for, the first time around. Being sent home from hospital to cope alone (as not deemed to be far enough in labour), not getting the support that was hoped for on a busy hospital ward or having experienced a long labour with lots of midwife shift changes or medical interventions, are just some of the reasons women choose to hire a Doula.
What does the Evidence say?
Evidence shows that a woman who has the constant reassuring presence of a Doula during childbirth will have a shorter labour and be less likely to ask for an epidural, have a caesarean or an instrumental delivery of her baby.
Want to know more about Birth Doulas?
Many women (myself included) look back after their first birth and feel cheated out of the birth they dreamed of.
If you know what your dream birth would be, and think that you might like a doula to help you achieve it, feel free to contact me to call me for a chat (Fern Daniel on 07949 536820). Or take a look around the official Doula UK website, you can type in your postcode and search the profiles of Doulas in your area.