Here are some frequently asked questions. Click on the question to see the answer.
According to Doula UK , a doula is someone who supports women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood. This support is practical and emotional but non-medical in nature.
Basically, a doula is someone who is there for the mother. Though on a whole, a doula is there for the entire family, first and foremost a doula is there for the mother. A doula is not someone that can do examinations or any interventions of a medical nature (midwives are great at their jobs and a doula is not a midwife!), or make decisions for someone else. A doula can be what you need her to be, whether this is, for example, a listening ear, someone to lean on (literally!), someone to entertain an older child, someone to help guard your personal space.
Not everyone needs a doula or wants a doula, but people choose to have doulas for different reasons. You might choose to have a doula to be an extra set of hands around the house during a home birth. Or you might choose to have a doula to be your primary source of emotional and physical support during labour and birth, whether you have a partner to support you as well or not. You might choose to have a doula to have the extra knowledge and experience of someone who has gone through it all before. Or you might choose a doula to be a consistent supportive figure when you don’t know which midwife is going to be attending your birth.
Research has shown that having a doula:
- 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
Findings from Mothering the Mother
Klaus, Kennell & Klaus, 1993
Not sure if you want a doula? Feel free to contact me to discuss any questions or concerns that you have.
My partner/mother/sister/friend has not heard of a doula and doesn’t understand why I have one. What do I tell him/her?
I think that is can be a tricky one as I find that either people are well aware of what a doula is or not too sure at all. It is your birth experience. You get to choose who you want to support you, where you want to give birth and what you would like your experience to be. The more comfortable you are with these choices, the more relaxed you will be (and this can’t be a bad thing when we’re talking labour!). I would pass along the information that you gathered to make the decision to have a doula to anyone that needs it and then be happy that you are well supported.
I completed the Developing Doulas Birth and Postnatal Doula Preparation Course in September 2012. My background is as a registered nurse and I have a Bachelor’s of Technology in Nursing degree. As a doula, I work as a doula and despite my clinical training this is not something that I use in doula role. However, my background has given me the opportunity to work with lots of families and to do a variety of training that is useful and relevant to new mothers. For example,I have completed a UNICEF Baby Friendly Breastfeeding course as well as other regular breastfeeding training sessions.
Of course! A doula is there for you wherever you want to be, be this at home, a birthing centre, or a hospital. A doula will even travel with you if you start labouring at home and need to transfer to hospital.
According to Doula UK,
“a Mentored Doula has completed a Doula UK approved Preparation Course and is involved in Doula UK’s Recognition Process. This means that she has a Mentor providing support and supervision within a framework for reflective practice until she has gained sufficient experience to become a Recognised Doula.”
As a doula, whether mentored or recognised, I will be learning and growing within my role. I feel really lucky to have not only my professional but my personal experiences to have gotten me started in my doula journey.