What is a Doula?


Doulas support women and their families during pregnancy, birth and the first days, weeks and months after the baby is born. Having a doula to provide practical and emotional support during this time helps to make the journey a truly positive experience for everyone and allows the family to relax knowing someone is there to put them first.

 

A doula is not a replacement for anyone else. On the contrary, as your doula I work quietly and unintrusively to allow those around you to focus on what they do best, being present for you rather than being busy with jobs.

 

A doula is not a stranger. You would meet me first to see if you want to work with me and if I am the right fit for you and your family. We would meet during your pregnancy to establish how best I can support you and to prepare you fully for the experience that lies ahead.

 

A doula does not dictate or judge the experience you have. I provide objective information to give you confidence in making your own choices. I am there regardless of your place of birth, your type of birth and whether this is your first birth or your fourth. The most important thing is that it is YOUR BIRTH and YOUR FAMILY.

 

Pregnancy Doula

 

Pregnancy doulas support you throughout your pregnancy. Pregnancy is a time of significant change both physically and emotionally. Whether it is your first pregnancy or not, it can be difficult to stay calm and enjoy the journey when you are faced with huge amounts of advice and information, appointments, unfamiliar or uncomfortable physical symptoms and anxiety. You can have a pregnancy doula and choose not to use them for your birth, or combine the two and have doula support through pregnancy and birth.

 

The benefits of having a pregnancy doula include:

  • Reduced levels of anxiety
  • Increased feelings of empowerment and confidence
  • Increased understanding of pregnancy and birth
  • Confidence in making decisions

Birth Doula

 

Birth doulas provide support, physically, practically and emotionally, during labour and birth. A birth doula is not a medical professional and so does not replace the role of a midwife or doctor, but works alongside them to support a woman in making informed decisions about her care.

 

The benefits of having a birth doula include:

  • Shorter labour
  • Less need for induction or augmentation of labour
  • Less need for pain medication or an epidural
  • Less risk of instrumental birth (forceps or ventouse)
  • Less risk of Caesarean birth
  • Increased satisfaction with the overall birth experience

Postnatal Doula

 

Postnatal doulas provide highly flexible support to help a woman and her family to adjust to life with their new baby. In days gone by extended family and members of the local community would provide continuous support to a new mother and her family. As families have become more scattered geographically and we are less involved in the communities where we live, this essential support has diminished to a point where some new mothers feel extremely isolated.

What you want from a postnatal doula is very personal and specific to your circumstances but their role is to, first and foremost, ‘mother the mother’, to nurture them as they start their new life with a newborn. You may choose to only have a postnatal doula, or use a doula for pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.

The benefits of having a postnatal doula include:

  • Increased self esteem and well being
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Increased likelihood of established breastfeeding

Meg Brierley

 

07793 036073

meg@agentlejourney.co.uk

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