Doula Support during Pregnancy and Labour
“To change the world, we must first change the way babies are being born.”Michel Odent
A Doula is a trained and experienced birth support companion. The word ‘doula’ comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves”. As a Doula, I offer assistance and information in pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.
As a Doula, I offer compassionate support and evidence-based education to all families, throughout pregnancy, labour and in the postnatal period. I have experience in all type of setting (public and private hospital, birth centre, homebirth, …) and all type of birth (scheduled caesarean, VBAC, vaginal birth with epidural, minimal intervention, …)
“IF YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR OPTIONS – YOU DON’T HAVE ANY.”
Being knowledgeable and feeling empowered are the two keys to a successful birth, however it may unfold. Being aware of your options gives you a better chance of:
- reducing fear. Renowned birth professional Penny Simkin refers to EDUCATION, or knowledge as one of the “positive modifiers” of the “fear-tension-pain” cycle – which means that being educated can impact your birth for the better! Staying actively involved in the decision making process throughout your preconception, pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum.
- Cheryl Beck’s 2004 study about birth trauma – “What Do Women Want” concludes that being actively involved in the process is a key factor in working for the birth you want, and creating a more positive experience – no matter what the outcome is!
Every parent’s expectations are different and as a Doula, I offer non-judgemental and unconditional support and information. My main role is to enable the birthing parent to work more intuitively with their needs and body, birth their way and evaluate their choices and options before, during and after labour
Many studies have been conducted and highlighted the huge difference a birth doula can make to labour and birth. In parts of the US and Europe doulas are a recognised an integral part of the birthing and postnatal team.
According to research undertaken in the US, Klaus, Kennel and Klaus, authors of “Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth” have identified the benefits of having a doula at your birth:
- 60% reduction in epidural requests
- 50% reduction in caesarean rate
- 40% reduction in oxytocin use
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery
- 25% shorter labour
- Decreased incidence of postpartum depression
- Better mother-infant interaction & nursing
As often as possible, I will support the information I give to parents with evidence-based studies and data.
NOT A MIDWIFE
A Doula is a trained birth support companion. Unlike the partner, close friend or family member present at the birth, I have both experience and knowledge of the birthing process and the medical system.
Unlike hospital staff juggling with busy schedules and numerous patients, I will be present continuously throughout labour, offering one-on-one attention and support to the expectant parent.
Doulas are not medically trained so I do not diagnose, examine or treat. I received an extensive training (through the well-recognised and government accredited Australian Doula College) to provide physical and emotional comfort.
My intention is always to work alongside other care providers and medical teams for the best possible outcome. I never go against a medical recommendation or give advice but I will always help parents understand their options to find what seems right for them and their family.
AN ADDITION TO YOUR PARTNER, NOT A DIVIDER
I noticed that one of the main concerns for couples wanting to hire a doula doesn’t always come from the expectant parent, but stems deep within the partner who might feel like hiring a professional birth support person is going to take away from their role.
At no point, does the presence of the Doula, make the birth partner’s support less valuable. When the partner is willing to take an active part in the labour process, I will enhance and support his/her role as the primary birth companion. I will look to see how whatever is happening is ‘working’ and help parents and staff see that too. Sometimes, it can be hard for partners to watch the person they love go through that pain and intensity while they feel powerless. I will guide and show them how they can be of help to the expectant parent.
Partners are often able to participate more fully with a doula present. It complements their role and strengthens it. I offer additional support, love, hands and nurturing but don’t take the place of the partner.
WHAT’S IN MY MARY POPPINS’S BAG ?
I have studied with worldwide birth keepers (SheBirths, Spinning Babies, Orgasmic Birth … view my curriculum as well as Prenatal Yoga, Aromatherapy (Essential Oils), Nutrition and Ayurveda (traditional Hindu system of medicine based on the idea that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit and uses food, herbs, spices & practices). I integrate this knowledge globally in my practice, as well as acupressure, active birthing, breathing and hypnobirthing techniques, rebozo, …
My goal is to create a safe bubble, hold the space without judgement and ‘have your back’ at all times. By ‘mothering the mother’ with reassurance and encouragement, I can facilitate the natural rhythm, intimacy and progress of labour.
The education and preparation done before the birth and the knowledge of the options that exist during labour empower parents to make the right decisions for their family.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
I support LGBTQI Families in Birth as well as families with diverse backgrounds. Find out more HERE.
BIRTH & GRIEF
Birth is not always perfect. Birth can be full of guilt and sadness and fear for parents but it can be a real relief for them to know that a loving, caring and supportive person is by their side for every breath of it, whatever the outcome. The education and preparation done before the birth and the knowledge of the options that exist during labour empowers couples to make decisions that sometimes are necessary. As a doula, I work hand-in-hand with the medical team and will never go against a medical recommendation or give advice but I will always help parents understand their options to find what seems right for them and their family.