A doula, pronounced ‘doo-la’ is a Greek word meaning ‘woman servant or caregiver’. They are birth companions and post birth supporters who are nonmedical and who assist women and couples before, during and or after childbirth. Michel Odent the famous French obstetrician says of doulas, ‘If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it’. They can provide both emotional and physical help as well as aim to help parents feel confident through their birth journey. Research based evidence has shown continuity of care by a non family member or friend has been associated with better birth outcomes for mothers and babies. Importantly the evidence has shown huge benefits which include lower risk for inductions and obstetric intervention as well as far fewer requests for morphine and epidurals.
The reason why doulas are growing so rapidly in popularity :-
Providing parents with information and advice about pregnancy, birth and parenthood so they can make informed decisions about their birth choices and beyond.
Assisting parents with providing a birth plan for their hospital or other decided birth place – home or birth centre.
Talking through emotional blockages which may arise through the pregnancy or debriefing past birth experiences.
Advocating for the couple through the birth and remaining with them throughout the entire birth once in active labour, even when the medical and midwifery staff have possibly changed many times.
Suggesting ways to move, breathe and visualise while performing massage, aromatherapy and or reflexology and many more healing modalities.
Providing low mood lighting and music of choice to create a ‘home away from home’ ambiance.
Making a temporary bed for dad when he needs rest or sleep at times through the birth.
Taking a video or photographs of the birth throughout as the couple desire.
Emotional and physical support to the couple from a well understood smile or hug to words of strong encouragement when women so often need this support in transition.
When baby or babies are born, doulas can assist in a variety of ways from wrapping, settling, bonding, bathing and breastfeeding through to minding older siblings and assisting with light house duties so mother and baby can have some well earned rest.
Perhaps you are pregnant with your first. A doula can help make your journey a smooth and happy one, providing you with a wealth of information so your choices become easier and your confidence grows. Or maybe you have had an unhappy time with a first birth and want to make the next birth better. A doula can make such a difference for you too, helping to replace worry or fear with anticipation of the joyful event and to create a healing birth experience. Findadoula.com is a great starting point to help you locate the right person to help you. Some doulas are HypnoBirthing Practitioners and may assist with private antenatal education classes and others may be trained in various healing or alternative modalities to suit your wishes. Hiring a Doula would make a wonderful gift for a friend or family members birth. Make your birth the joyful, calm, and magical experience it can be for you, your partner and your baby and hire a doula.