North London Massage, Doula, Pregnancy Massage, Baby Massage

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What is a Doula?

What is a Doula?

What can a doula do for my baby and me?  Why would I choose to have a doula at the birth of my baby?

Having a doula or childbirth companion in preparation for birth and during labour means having a non medical one-to-one consistency and quality of care that has been proved to be extremely beneficial for the labouring woman. This in turn helps parents to enjoy what is often the most important day of their lives, feeling confident and safe enough to surrender to the power of birth and a new life.

WHAT IS A DOULA OR CHILD BIRTH COMPANION

A Doula is a non medical person supporting mum and partner, emotionally and practically during pregnancy, birth and beyond. She is a trusted companion, who has undertaken a nationally recognised training course; someone that parents choose and who they have time to bond with before the birth. Additionally, she is a guardian supporting parents, exploring the options for the birth-day they want for themselves and their baby, helping to explore hopes and discuss possible fears so parents can take an active role in writing a birth ‘plan’ that works for them and not ‘against them.’She can provide information about birth topics; including the physiology of birth, active birth positions, induction methods and options, pros & cons of drugs, pain relief medications and options etc. She protects mum and dad’s space before, during and after labour, acting as advocate if needed.

In my professional journey I am learning that having an experienced birth companion that not only knows about the physiology of birth but also knows the NHS system is key for parents to reach the day with calm and confidence.

The aim of a doula is to empower you throughout pregnancy, labour and early parenthood so that you and your partner can make informed decisions coming from a place of knowledge and confidence.

A doula can be only for preparation to birth and labour, or only for the post-natal period or for both. I explore about post natal doulas in a different post.

BENEFITS OF HAVING A DOULA

  • Shortens first time labour by an average of 2hrs.
  • Decreases the chances of c-section by 50%
  • Reduces the need of pain medication by 60%

Mums that birth with the support of a child birth companion feel they have a fulfilling and positive experience. Dads also feel they are more in control and enjoy the experience more.

Here the conclusions from Coachrane research published online October 2012:
“Continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants and no known harm. All women should have support throughout labour and birth.” Odnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C

You can find more detailed research evidence about how a doula benefits the labouring woman and supports her feeding choices on the Doula UK website

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN INTERVIEWING A DOULA

Choosing your doula is something that will come from the heart, you will know who is the right match for you.
The best is to call a few and meet in person those that you think could be a good match for you and your partner. Keep meeting/interviewing until you feel you have met just the right person.
Most probabily you will spend quite a few hours together and you want to feel completely comfortable and at ease.

Here some questions/ideas to ask:

  1. What made you become a Doula? What do you enjoy the most of being a Doula?
  2. Do you cover my area, are you available around my due date?
  3. What type of birth do you have experiece of?
  4. How do you work with the mother/couple in the pre-natal sessions?
  5. What training do you have?
  6. What are your fees, what does it cover, what is refundable and what isn’t?
  7. Are there other services you provide? Do you also work as a post-natal doula should I need more assistance then?
  8. What happens if for some reason you are not available the day of my birth? Do you have a back-up?

‘What does a doula actually do on the birth-day?’
‘What is a post-natal doula and what does she do?’

See my services as a Doula in North London

Have a memorable, empowering birth experience

Posted in Child birth companion, childbirth, Doula, Doula UK, healthy pregnancy, labour, Pregnancy, well-being during pregnancy


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Author Info

Eleonora Lawson

Deep tissue pregnancy and postnatal massage specialist. Birth and post-natal doula. Baby massage instructor and Sling consultant based in North London. CThA, Doula UK, AIMS, IAIM