What is a Birth doula?


 

The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" . A Doula is a non-medical caregiver who provides physical and emotional support to a women before, during and after birth. A Doula is also a support for your partner, helping them to confidently support you and provide relief if they need a break.

Birth is such an exciting time

Yet, no matter how prepared you are for your labour, you may still be wondering...

  • Will we be able to handle the intensity of labour alone?
  • Can we attain the unmedicated, uninterrupted birth we are hoping to have?
  • I might want to have an epidural, will I know when and what happens after?
  • Will my labour be swift or drawn out?
  • How will my partner hold up under the pressure?
  • How will we remember all we have learned and apply it in the moment?
  • Will we connect with our midwife and will she have time for us?
  • Who will be there to help us understand when terms like "occiput-posterior" or "cervical lip" are being mentioned?

But what if we are having a caesarean, do we still need a doula?

  • A doula can help you prepare a birth plan specifically for a caesarean birth.
  • Answer questions about the surgery and healing process.
  • Emotionally prepare, learn relaxation and breathing techniques to remain calm during surgery.
If you don't know your options, you don't have any!

 

What does a Doula do?

Faced with the uncertainty of labour, many women and their partners find enormous reassurance in having a Doula by their side.  In fact, research has found that women who have one-on-one professional labour support tend to have shorter labours, fewer complications, less need for pain relieving drugs and healthier newborns.

During pregnancy we meet to discuss your wishes for birth, prepare your birth preferences and you will learn ways to work with the sensations of labour. After your baby arrives we will meet again to discuss your birth experience and help with early parenting, feeding and settling information.

As your Doula, I will provide you with continuous emotional and physical support with gentle massage, suggestions for laboring positions and other measures to provide you comfort.  I will help you and your partner talk through your wishes, fears and plans before the birth of your child and familiarize you with the many options you have in childbirth.

I have complete trust in a woman’s ability to birth her baby and want nothing more than for you and your partner to have a positive birth experience whatever that may be.  I understand that there is a place and time for medical intervention and respect the parents’ right to choose what is right for them.

But what about my partner?

Often, when a couple is considering hiring a doula, the mother's partner may think, "Well, if we have a doula, what will my role be?"

Many partners are eager to be involved during labour and birth.  Others, no less loving and committed to the mother's well-being find it difficult to navigate in unchartered waters.  At times, a partner may not understand a woman's instinctive behavior during childbirth and may react anxiously to what a doula knows to be the normal process of birth. The partner may become understandably stressed when watching his or her partner during the intensities of childbirth.

Doulas can actually help facilitate a partner's involvement during this special time.  With Doula support, the partner tends to stay more involved with the labouring mother and share in the birth at a level he or she feels most comfortable.  If the partner wants to provide physical comfort such as a back massage, a change of position, or helping the mother to stay focused during contractions, the Doula can provide that guidance and make suggestions for what may work best.

A Doula can skillfully help the mother to cope with labour in her unique way, while taking some of the pressure off her partner.  A partner's presence is comforting and irreplaceable.  The love that is shared between them is something only the partner can provide.

The combination of a Doula's knowledge and experience with the partner's loving touch or voice can make all the difference in the world - less stress on the partner and perfect loving support for the mother.

Where will you support us?

Depending on your wishes, I can support you at hospital or at home and then move into hospital with you. I also support families choosing to homebirth with independent midwifery care. I service Buderim Private Hospital and Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Kawana. I cover all areas of the Sunshine Coast for homebirth families. Please get in touch if you are birthing outside of the area for more information.

 

When my friends ask me how horrible the birth was they think I'm joking when I say it was amazing!! Thanks so much Bron xx -- Kate & Jayden