The simple presence of a doula during labour can help the mother/couple to feel safe, enhancing her confidence in her body and her ability to birth.
The birth doula acts to protect the birth environment from disturbance so that the mother may focus on birthing her baby gently and safely. Her role equally involves supporting the mother’s partner to participate in the labour at his/her own level of comfort.
The birth doula meets with the mother/couple several times during pregnancy to:
- build a trusting relationship
- learn about their plans in preparation for the birth of their baby
- explore their emotions, hopes and fears
- signpost to information and discuss choices available to them.
During the birth, a doula offers a reassuring presence and if required:
- sets up and keeps the birth space safe
- assistance with positioning and relaxation
- a gentle reminder of any choices that the woman may have indicated prior to birth
- support for the partner to be involved or to take a break when needed
- practical support e.g. drinks, snacks, cold cloths, comfort measures, music etc.
Following the birth of your baby, a birth doula will meet with you one or more times to give you the opportunity to talk about your birth, to discuss any concerns you may have and to celebrate your baby.
Some doulas are available for pre-natal support only to help you prepare for the birth of your baby.
‘The best decision I made throughout pregnancy for me and my baby was hiring my doula. I say hiring, but by the end she was simply a family member, the missing link between my pregnancy worries and the NHS.
My partner works away constantly and my doula was the most wonderful, supportive, welcoming and totally positive ray of light when I was stressed or worried. For anyone who has ideas of a doulas as a “hippie” idea, think again. My birth was far from planned and far from natural (as was born under general c-section), but my doula kept me going and knowing that she was there for my partner took a load off my mind as well. Always there for me no matter what time of day or night, no matter how irrational I may have been and no matter how many times I had her sitting by the phone, convinced I was going into labour!
To sum it up I think every woman should have a doula!‘