WOMEN AWAKENINGS ACADEMY 

Q & A s about doulas 

WHAT IS A DOULA


Since the beginning of times, women have been supporting women during birth and this is evident throughout history from ancient civilisations all over the world.  The word “Doula” comes from the Greek word Δούλα which translates to ‘a woman who serves’. Doula is a professional with training and experience around birth who can provide support, before, during and just after birth in a practical, emotional and educational way.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU HIRE A DOULA

Before birth

Throughout pregnancy, a doula will provide a continuous support with information, practical advice and emotional encouragement for anything pregnancy related. She is there to take the role of a friend, a sister, a mother and enhance the link of communication between you and your doctor. What makes this relationship special is the trust built throughout gestation, which is absolutely necessary for someone who will share with you a very intimate event such as birth.

During Labour

Your Doula is just a call away when your labour starts. She will come to your house at the initial stages of labour and stay with you until your baby is born. She will ‘hold space’ for you and act as a source of continuous reassurance during labour. She provides comfort measures (such as breathing, massage, movement, positioning) in a very gentle but powerful way. In contrast to midwives who may need to change shifts, she is constantly there with you riding the waves of birth.

After birth

Postnatal doulas can support you with breastfeeding and take care of anything that requires attention at your home such as cooking, holding the baby so you can take a bath, playing with other young children. Having a postnatal doula it’s easier to get some time with yourself and your baby without having to worry about other things that need your attention.

 

WHAT DOULAS ARE NOT FOR


It is important to say that a Doula is not medically trained (she will not perform any clinical examinations or diagnosis) and she does not substitute your doctor, midwife or partner! She is not biased and will not judge you for the decisions that you will make for your birth 

 

DOULAS AND DADS


It is very important for the father to be present at birth and no one can substitute his role. However, birth can also be overwhelming for him and having another person who has knowledge about birth and is aware of how things work in the hospitals is very useful. A doula can hold space and support you both so your experience of birth is memorable, empowering and connecting. Doulas and dads make a very powerful birth support team together! 

 

WHAT ARE THE EVIDENCE FOR HAVING A DOULA

It has been shown that women having a continuous support from a doula before and during birth have a more positive overall experience.  They are more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, labors are shorter by about 40 minutes and babies are less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth (2012, Hodnett et al)  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23076901)



WHY DOULAS ARE EFFECTIVE

The most important reason that a Doulas presence is so helpful during birth is because of the conditions of the birthing environment today. Since birth has moved from home into the clinics and hospitals the environment has become ‘hush’ for the requirements of the birthing process.  Women are more easily subjected to intervention and routine procedures, there is lack of privacy, bright lighting, strangers coming in and out of the room and needles! A woman giving birth is at a very venerable state and these conditions are very likely to slow down labour and decrease self-confidence while increasing the risk for intervention. A doula will ‘protect’ the space of the laboring woman and support the requirements of birth, filtering out anything, which is potentially interfering. In addition to increasing self-confidence, the continuous support and comfort measures act as natural pain relief so labour is more likely to proceed naturally.


HOW TO CHOOSE A DOULA


Your Doula will be present at a very intimate moment of your life so it is very important to feel a connection with her and choose her based on how you feel in her presence. Most Doulas love what they do and have the knowledge and experience required to support you. Your choice is simply a matter of who do you want to share this experience with and some practicalities!

MY DOULA-ING JOURNEY.


You know that feeling when your heart beats out of excitement, about to come out of your chest, and your eyes are shining out of joy? This is how I remember myself feeling every time I would encounter a pregnant woman since I was about five years old! 


Deciding to live life guided by excitement, the 'passion' that keeps everything together, is what has lead me to become a Doula. 


From the very first birth I've been, I  felt that the 'birthing field'  has the potency to transform everyone involved. The interplay between those who enter this field can critically affect the progression of birth. When entering this timeless zone, any traces of Ego need to stay out of the room!  Being a servant of birth and the birthing woman is a gift and a check-point of ones own purity.   Let us not forget that we are to be born in love if  we are to 


Training alongside pioneers of the natural birth movement has deeply inspired me to continue this journey and not hold back even if  at a time where our ability to birth is questionable. Working with the invisible elements that affect the body's ability to open up and  make birth possible (or not!)  is my loudest calling! I am grateful for every single woman I had the luck to see in the eyes during her birth!



MY PROMISE TO YOU



Just like any relationship, for me it's important that we feel good in each others' presence. I take time to hear what you are looking for let you know what I can offer as a Doula. 


In addition to guiding  you with your choices, my primary role is to make you feel safe and  supported during your journey of pregnancy, birth and motherhood.


Before birth I like to meet both the mother and the father, go with you to your doctor if you like and discuss your birth plan. 


Before and during labour, I am there to respond to our needs and serve the requirements of birth and the players involved; mom, dad and baby!


I am always a phone call away. 

doula...  a servant of birth, a wisdom keeper of a timeless art