What's a doula anyway?
One of my all time favourite quotes about birth is this:
"It is said that women in labour leave their bodies.... they travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies, and return to this world together." (Anon.)
Just beautiful. And I have had the great honour and privilege over the last 13 years of not only travelling to the stars to collect the souls of my own three babies, but being with many women as they make that journey themselves. I first did this as a Midwife and now as a Doula - when people ask me what on earth a Doula is I explain it this way: It's the same as the support a Midwife wants to (and is trained to) offer, but a Doula can 100% concentrate on Mum & partner, without the clinical role and paperwork getting in the way.
And really that's it, it's being there with the Mum and Partner from whatever stage in labour they need me supporting them, physically and emotionally, making them feel safe, secure and informed about what is going on. A Doula works alongside a Midwife, quietly and gently in the background supporting the Mum & partner. Often women in labour may meet more than one Midwife due to shift changes, but with a Doula you have a constant person that you know the entire time.
One of the things people worry about often is that a Doula will make the role of the partner redundant - this is quite the opposite of the reality. A Doula will meet the couple during pregnancy to get to know them, and work out how best to support them personally. She will then be there to support BOTH of them, which may mean swapping with partner to let them go to the loo or grab a bite to eat. It may mean explaining quietly to the partner what is happening, or just giving them a reassuring hug or smile when they feel overwhelmed.
The statistics show that with the support of a Doula the following (with thanks to Doula UK):
Reduced risk of Caesarean birth
Reduced risk of instrumental birth
Reduced need for painkillers or epidural during birth
Reduced rate of induction of labour
Increased parental satisfaction with the birth experience.
Increased likelihood of initiating breastfeeding
Increased likelihood of successfully establishing breastfeeding & breastfeeding at 6 weeks
My Doula package includes:
- 2 Antenatal visits - these are in your home, ideally with Mum & birth partner, to get to know you and understand your birth preferences
- To be on call for you from 38 weeks to 42 weeks of pregnancy
- I will stay with you throughout established labour and birth until your baby is born offering you and your birth partner continuous emotional support and non-medical advice.
- I will visit you once Postnatally at home in the first 6 weeks, to de-brief and offer any advice and support that you need with baby.
- I will be available to you by phone or email for support throughout pregnancy and in the first two weeks after baby has been born.
The cost for this package is £900, I will request a deposit of £180 payable on booking, and remaining £720 to be paid at 38 weeks from the point that I will be ‘on call’ for you. I work within roughly a 30 minute radius of Reading (RG7).
If this sounds like something you would like for your birth, then please contact me to chat about it further! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form here. x