What is a Doula?
A Doula is professionally trained to help support women and their families during pregnancy, birth and postnatally. They are not medically trained and will not replace any of your medical team. Their role is to make sure you have the best experience you can by offering emotional, physical and informational support.
What does a Doula do?
Doulas offer a range of services to help support you during and after pregnancy. The main types of doula are labour/birth doula, antenatal doula and postnatal doula.
work with women during their pregnancy to help prepare them for birth and beyond. Antenatal doula’s may also support women who have been put on bed rest or are experiencing difficult or high-risk pregnancies. They can help to ensure that you get the rest and support that you need during pregnancy.
Labour or birth Doula
provide women with physical and emotional support during labour and childbirth. They will usually meet with you at least twice during your pregnancy. They might help you prepare your birth plan, discuss pain relief options, help you practice labour techniques or just be a compassionate ear, to listen to your concerns and remind you that you have got this!
During birth your doula will offer hands on support to help with pain relief; she may use breathing techniques, relaxation methods, massage or support you in to better labouring positions. She will also ensure that basic needs such as remaining hydrated are met, as well as that any other birthing partner that you have with you can take a break if needed.
offers support to you and your new-born in the first few weeks following childbirth. This can include support with feeding and caring for your new-born as well as supporting the mother’s emotional needs. Your doula has vast network of pregnancy, birth and postnatal contacts and can signpost you accordingly to other professionals if needed.
What are the benefits of having a birth Doula?
Studies have shown that having a Doula support you through pregnancy and labour can have a positive impact on your mental health as well as helping you prepare for the birth of your baby.
Benefits Doula Support
- Increased feelings of support; helping you identify concerns and plan how to approach them
- Increased support to help you through your concerns and fears
- Increased knowledge about the physiology of birth, which can help inform your birthing plan
- Increased oxytocin, which leads to quicker birth
- Increased support for partner/family
- Reduced feelings of anxiety, because you have an advocate with you throughout
- Reduced assisted delivery and caesarean rates
- Reduced pain medication and epidural rates
- Reduced risk of perinatal mental illness
- Safer and more positive birthing experience overall
Questions you may wish to ask a potential Doula
- What training have they done and what is their experience?
- Are they certified? If so, who with?
- What services do they offer? i.e. do they offer home support, labour support, postpartum support etc.
- Why did they become a Doula?
- How many births have they attended?
- How much do they charge? What’s included?
- Will they be available on your due date?
- Will they visit you before the birth?
- Do they have experience with home births?
- Do they have experience with birth complications?
- Are they insured?
- How often can they be contacted and what are their methods of communication
At PND Mummies CIC we are lucky to have a partnership with The Mental Health Doula. The Mental Health Doula supports women in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire area and pays a percentage of their profits to support the work being done by PND Mummies CIC, to support women with their perinatal mental health.
To find other Doula’s you can check out the Doula UK website.