More and more people are choosing to find a doula to support them before, during and after giving birth. Iâ€™ve heard about the amazing benefits of having this support â€“ first time labour can be reduced by up to two hours, and the chance of caesarean section can be decreased by 50% – but Iâ€™ve never been sure about what a doula does. So I thought I would find out, and share it here with you here.
The official UK site is at doula.org.uk, and their definition is: â€œDoulas support the whole family to have a positive experience of pregnancy, birth and the early weeks with a new babyâ€.
There are two types of doula â€“ natal and post-natal â€“ but some can, and do, specialise in both.
A birth doula will be present with you throughout your labour and delivery, offering support and reassurance to you and your partner. They donâ€™t get involved in any of the medical procedures, and wonâ€™t necessarily have had any medical training, but they usually come with have a lot of their own motherhood experience â€“ and doulas listed on the Doula UK website will all have completed a recognised course.
They will listen to you during labour, help to explain whatâ€™s happening, and make sure you understand any decisions you have to make during the process. There is normally a fixed amount for a birth support package.
When youâ€™re back at home with your baby and starting out as mum and dad to this little bundle, a post-natal doula will be there to help. They will help with establishing confident breastfeeding, sleeping, and even caring for older children, and supporting both you and your partner too. Some are volunteers, and many are employed directly by the families they are supporting. They usually charge by the hour.
I’d love to hear from anyone who’s had a doula to support them through labour or postnatally – it would be great to do a birth story blog post about it!