What is Doula ?

A doula is a professional support provider who trusts and understands the physiological process of childbirth and respects the psychological and social impact a birth experience has on the whole family. Doulas provide practical, emotional and informational support and have no agenda of their own. They know that everyone will birth and parent in ways that are right for them and that to be able to make informed choices in the childbearing year, expectant parents need access to evidence based information.

A birth doula:

  • Recognises birth as a key life experience that will be remembered for life

  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a person in labour

  • Assists the woman or birthing person, and the partner (if there is one), in preparing for and carrying out their wishes for the birth of their baby

  • Stays by the side of the labouring woman/person throughout the entire labour

  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman or birthing person in getting the information they need to make choices.

  • Facilitates communication between the labouring woman/person, the partner and medical care providers

  • Perceives the doula role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s or birthing person's  memory of their birth experience

 

A postnatal doula:

  • Recognises that becoming a mother/parent is a life changing event

  • Understand that each new mother/parent needs to find and discover their own way of mothering/parenting

  • Offers education, non-judgemental physical and emotional support during the first three months or more following the addition of a new baby to a family

  • Assists with new born care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying

  • Offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents

  • Signposts and makes appropriate referrals when necessary

What is NOT included in doula support?

Doulas are not medically trained and do not give any kind of advice. They do not:

  • Carry out any midwifery tasks such as vaginal exams or monitoring the baby’s heart tone

  • Diagnose conditions

  • Make decisions on behalf of their clients

  • Pressure or try to convince their clients to do what they consider to be the best thing

  • Take over the partner’s role but offers support to them as well

  • Usually change shifts or leave after a certain number of hours

  • Usually don’t plan to catch the baby

 

 

 

 

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