I was so thrilled to be invited to contribute to an article for Kids On The Coast about birth choices, home birth and doula support.
We are spoilt for choice here on the Sunshine Coast with many amazing midwives, doulas, child birth educators and support for postnatal recovery. Here is a snippet of my article.
Bronwyn Arnold-Briggs is a certified birth doula and runs Kindred Birth. She says while doulas do not give medical advice or provide medical care, they can provide evidence-based information and open non-judgmental support to prepare couples for their best birth experience.
“We help with preparation of birth preferences, help women learn about their body and how it works during birth (you’d be surprised that most women really don’t understand the ‘mechanics’ of giving birth) and teach skills to help with labour and comfort measures,” Bronwyn says. “We will also talk about any fears or concerns the couple may have about the labour and birth and help with strategies or information to put them at ease.”
Doulas can attend both hospital and home births. “For some families, having a home birth is the right choice for them,” Bronwyn explains. “It could come from a previous experience in hospital or simply seeing birth as a non-medical event and choosing the comfort and privacy of their own home.”
If a couple chooses this option, they will usually receive their medical care throughout the pregnancy from the same midwife, and might call their doula to come to them in early labour to help them manage and prepare for the more intense active labour. “At some point they will decide it’s time to call their midwife – this is all discussed during their antenatal appointments,” says Bronwyn. “A midwife will bring with her a full arsenal of equipment, medication, oxygen, etc – they are basically a walking hospital. The midwife will monitor the mother’s progress and assess her in a medical capacity. All the while a doula could be massaging mums hips and back, helping Dad apply counter pressure on her lower back, making sure both parents are eating and drinking. Many midwives will also be providing this level of personal support in a home birth situation but their primary focus is the health and wellbeing of mother and baby.”
Bronwyn says that doulas and midwives know how to ‘be with a woman’ providing a safe and nurturing space to allow labour and birth to unfold as it should. Doulas often also provide other birth related services including childbirth education classes, pre- and postnatal yoga, postnatal doula support, and even placenta encapsulation. Bronwyn provides a full spectrum of holistic care and support including hypnobirthing courses, pregnancy, birth and postnatal support, placenta encapsulation and also professional birth photography.