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Doula - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Birth Doula? (Doo-la)

A Birth Doula is a woman who provides continuous emotional and practical support for the woman or couple throughout pregnancy and birth. She is a friendly, caring, compassionate woman who will support the lady through the birth preferences she chooses. Doulas reassure partners and encourage them to be involved with confidence. A Birth Doula is not medically trained and is not a replacement for a midwife. She is there to work alongside midwives in offering support to you whilst midwives are attending to other women.

What are the benefits to having a Birth Doula?

Below are the results of a 2008 UK survey. 165 surveys were returned and helped us get information from 735 births supported by a Doula.
(full results can be found in the MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 2009).

48% - Primiparous women (first time mums)
45% - Natural births (with no induction, medicated pain relief, augmentation and instrumental deliveries)
15% - Caesarean section (versus 24.3% nationally)
20% - Epidurals (versus over 30% nationally)
10% - Inductions (versus 20% nationally)
70% - Vaginal birth after a caesarean section success rate
23% - Labour in a pool
19% - Successful home births (no transfer)
86% - Breastfed at birth (versus 76% nationally)
11% - Doula was single birth partner
Goedkoop V. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, vol 19, no 2, June 2009, pp 217-218

Surely this is what a Midwife does?

Although the midwives are supportive you must remember you will unlikely be the only person giving birth at that time. The midwife will offer support for the time she is in the room checking you and your baby’s progress but will have other women to attend to. If it’s a long labour you may see several different midwives, as your Doula I will be your support throughout the whole process from start to finish.

Does a Doula replace my partner’s role?

No, the person who knows you best is your partner. It can be very hard for a partner, someone who has no experience in birth to support you fully. As your Doula I will be there for your partner, providing information and reassurance reducing the stress they may feel, giving them the confidence in supporting you the best they can. During long labours I will be with you so your partner can have a break with confidence knowing that you are being supported and not left on your own. I can help make the birth a very special time for you and your partner.

Why would I want a stranger at my birth?

By the time you give birth I will have become a very good friend. I will have met with you (and partner) on a number of occasions to discuss birth preferences, fears or concerns. I will be a familiar and reassuring presence in the room.

What if I go into Labour in the early hours of the morning?

Babies often decide to start their arrival in unsociable hours, as your Birth Doula I will be on call from 14 days before your due date to 14 days after your due date. I will be contactable 24 hours a day whether you call the mobile or house.

Would the Doula be offended if I asked them to leave the room?

No, it’s important for you and your partner to have a few moments on your own, I would not be offended if you asked her to leave the room.

When should I think about hiring a Doula?

I recommend you pick a few Doulas to interview at a free consultation as soon as you can, that way by the time you are at least 7/8 months you will have booked a Doula you feel comfortable with and will be getting to know her. I will only dedicate myself to one woman at a time so we get booked up quick.

How many times will I meet my Doula?

I will offer a free initial consultation to discuss my services in detail followed by 2 antenatal meetings. You will be able to contact me on email or phone as often as you like throughout your pregnancy.

Have any celebrities hired Doulas?

Here is the list:
Rikki Lake
Pamela Anderson
Nicole Kidman
Cindy Crawford
Demi Moore
Kelly Rutherford
Ming Tsai
Kelly Ripa
Ani DiFranco
Eric Mabius