Doula is a compassionate experienced woman who offers emotional and practical support to a woman (or a couple) before, during and after childbirth.
A doula believes in “mothering the mother” - enabling a woman to have the most satisfying and empowered time that she can during pregnancy, birth and the early days as a new mum.
A doula understands the physiology and emotions of birth and stays by the woman's side all throughout labour. This type of support and reassurance also helps the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience.
Research has shown that having a doula present:
Shortens first-time labour by an average of 2 hours
Decreases the chance of caesarean section by 50%
Decreases the need for pain medication
Helps fathers participate with confidence
Increases success in breastfeeding
Helps to experience birth in a positive way
What do I do?
As a doula, I believe that childbirth is a normal part of life, therefore everyone should feel safe, comfortable and in control when giving birth. No matter where and how you choose to do it, I am there to hold space for you so that you are empowered and secure to do what feels right for you in the moment: whether you are at home, on the labour ward, at the Birth Centre or having a Caesarean birth (I have been in all of those scenarios). As your doula, I am there to support and encourage you every step of the way and point you to the right information when you need to make a choice. I will accompany you (and your partner) through the process of preparing for birth and support you during labour, birth and bonding. I do not give medical advice nor do I undertake examinations or perform any other clinical task. I cannot make decisions for you but I can act as a spokesperson for you should you wish me to do so.
My role is to be led by you, providing the support that you may need along the way. The kind of support I give is often emotional, practical and informational, and will be offered unconditionally and without judgement. I tailor the services provided individually depending on your wishes and experience. It might be helping you navigate the NHS system; providing in-depth teaching on physiology of labour and birth; leading breath and relaxation sessions; helping you understand and process any feelings you have around birth and parenting; aid with writting your birth plan; lending relevant books and curated articles; sharing recommendations for local services and specialists; assisting with the shopping for the baby and packing the hospital bag; arming you with the information on caring for your newborn. The list can go on and on, until you feel "all set" both in the emotional and practical sense.
I do not come between you and your partner but rather support both of you during birth. I am able to make suggestions for labour progress, help with relaxation, breath, positioning and other comfort measures. I needed, I guide the partner to help the birthing mother. If the labour starts at home, I will help you decide when it's the right time to go to the hospital, will travel with you and stay with you all the way through. I will help safeguard your bonding period and help with feeding your baby.
COVID update: Not all London hospitals are currently allowing two birth partners to attend the birth (some are though - please check with your midwife). If you have a partner accompanying you, you can still have a doula to support you antenatally, during the first bit of labour at home, and to help you get to the hospital. I can then continue supporting you via the phone. Please the Covid package below.