We ask Louise Daniels, Birth Doula and NCT Antenatal Teacher, what is a doula and how could one benefit you?
“Doula is a Greek word meaning ‘woman servant or caregiver”. Nowadays, it refers to a professional who is trained in childbirth and provides continuous support to a woman or couple before, during and after childbirth. A doula’s role is to help you have a safe, positive, empowering birth experience, be there to answer questions you and your partner have and explain the process of labour and birth. Recent studies indicate(1) that a natural by-product of doula support is better outcomes for babies and their mothers: shorter, more comfortable labours, fewer complications and greater maternal satisfaction. A Doula UK Survey(2) found that the likelihood of intervention during birth decreases by over 25% in births supported by a doula.
“Birth doulas do not replace midwives or other healthcare providers. They do not perform clinical or medical tasks. They are there to comfort and support the parents and to aid communication, if needs be, with medical staff. A doula’s Birth Service is adaptable to whatever the mum and birth partner want/need. Antenatally she will meet with you both at least twice, and discuss previous births, the physiology of birth and the role of hormones She will also discuss comfort measures: positions, breathing, relaxation, massage and tell your partner how they can support you.
“During the birth, she will be constantly with you, from two weeks before your estimated due date until your baby is born. She would usually come to your home and then travel with you to the hospital or birthing centre, or arrive before you call the midwives to a home birth. On the day (or night), she will stay by your side (no change of shift!) and support you in whichever way is needed. This may be practical or emotional. There’s no time limit – she’ll stay with you until your baby is born.
“She will keep an eye on birth partner to make sure he or she is eating, drinking, resting when possible and gently encouraging & reassuring them and they work together to support you as you bring your baby into the World. After the birth, she will support you with baby’s first feed and continue to protect that safe, private space so that you can bond as a family. Practically, she will generally make sure you’re comfortable, happy and confident before she leaves. Then postnatally, she will visit you at a time that suits you, and is then available by email or phone until you no longer need her.”
Louise Daniels, Birth Doula and NCT Antenatal Teacher www.callthedoula.com
- 1. Cochrane Review on the benefits of continuous support in labour: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD003766/continuous-support-for-women-during-childbirth
- 2. Doula UK Survey: http://doula.org.uk/content/doula-uk-survey-shows-doulas-have-significant-impact-birth-and-breastfeeding
What: Call The Doula
Where: Kent, Surrey, East Sussex
Who: Louise Daniels is a recognised Birth Doula and a qualified Antenatal Teacher and Birth and Beyond Practitioner. She has supported parents planning their first birth, subsequent births, twin births, waterbirths, hypnobirths, at homes, hospitals and birth centres. She also has knowledge and experience in supporting women planning a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean).
Website: Louise blogs about birth at www.callthedoula.com, contributes to NCT publications and offers support for free to parents via email on pregnancy, labour and birth issues.
What: The Birth Buddy
Where: Cheshire, Staffordshire and the surrounding areas
Who: Donna Sheppard trained as a Doula with Nurturing Birth. She is a Birth Doula and Postnatal Doula. She is passionate about the importance of supporting women to have the best birth experience possible. With the right support and information you can face your birth with confidence.
What: Michelle Eshkeri
Where: North London, Hertfordshire and Essex
Who: Michelle has worked as a Doula for many years and also runs baby first aid classes.
What: Chaikhana Birth – Doula
Who: Felicity Weller is a Doula, Hypnobirthing practitioner and Developmental Baby Massage teacher. She believes that, given the right support, birth can be a positive, satisfying and empowering experience for women and their partners. As your Doula, she will help to protect your space; supporting your physical, emotional and practical needs with unconditional compassion and without judgement.
Who: Alexa Dean
What: Alexa is a doula, hypnobirthing childbirth educator, massage therapist, yoga teacher specialised in pregnancy and postnatal and a babywearing consultant. She is passionate about active, positive and conscious birth and supporting pregnant women and new parents through their amazing transformation that parenthood brings forth. She is one of the founder members of London Bliss Doulas, offering women and couples a comprehensive range of childbirth support before, during and after birth. She qualified as a Hatha Yoga Teacher (RYT200) at triyoga, one of Europe’s leading yoga centers, certified by the British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Alliance US. She specialized in Pregnancy and Postnatal Yoga with Nadia Narain. She trained with renown Judith Lasater to become a Relax and Renew Restorative Yoga Teacher. She certified as a Doula guided by revolutionary childbirth pioneer Dr Michel Odent. She studied Hypnobirthing with Katharine Graves and EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) with Sue Beer and Emma Roberts. She is a Massage Therapist specialised in Fertility Massage (Clare Blake), Pregnancy and Postnatal Massage (Amy Taylor – Purple Turtle and Suzanne Yates – WellMother) and Developmental Baby Massage (Peter Walker). Alexa trained as a Babywearing Consultant with the School of Babywearing and is passionate about sharing the benefits of attachment parenting.
Alexa is a YogaBirth Teacher since 2015, a 200-hours program set up by Lolly Stirk and Yvonne Moore and a group of Active Birth teachers, which combines Pregnancy Yoga with Childbirth Education. She is also a Birthlight Baby Yoga Teacher Trainee under the instruction of Sally Lomas.
Where: The Bridge, 81 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 0NQ
Who: London Bliss Doulas
What: London Bliss Doulas offer a comprehensive range of childbirth support, before, during and after the birth. Each Doula is an expert in providing individualised care throughout with the bonus of the availability of many other services including hypnobirthing, massage, pregnancy yoga, baby massasage among others. These will provide both the expectant parents and the new baby with an ideal environment of confidence and reassurance needed to ease the transition to parenthood that many experience with extraordinary joy and amazement, but without the immediate skills London Bliss Doulas can offer. We believe that with good emotional, physical and practical support, everyone is able to enjoy a positive birth experience. Our role as doulas is to provide local care, comfort and support to you and your family through a range of excellent services and information.
What: I am a preconception, birth and postnatal Doula in London. I attended Paramana Doula course in London and trained with Dr. Michel Odent, Liliana Lammers and Anna Verwaal. I am a Recognized Birth Doula and a member of Doula UK. Since having my son in 2010 I became fascinated with birth and the capability of woman’s body. I have a passion for birth, and believe that every woman can have a positive, memorable, and empowering birth experience. I do not offer medical advice but I offer emotional, physical and informational support. My goal is to support you and your birth partner throughout the birth. Having Doula decreases the pressure on the partner allowing comfortable participation, and increases enjoyment of the birth of the baby for both parents. Scientific research shows that presence of a Doula shortens labour, increases comfort, and makes the whole experience much happier. As the mother feels calmer and secure, the demand for chemical drugs is also decreased. As a postnatal Doula I will help you in your first weeks of becoming a mother. I will cook for you, hold your baby when you want to rest or just have a shower. I will care for you as your own mother would to make sure you ease into this new role confidently and smoothly. I am one of the founder members of London Bliss Doulas, offering women and couples a comprehensive range of childbirth support before, during and after birth. Being a part of London Bliss Doulas means that your birth will always be automatically backed up by one of the team.
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