The word ‘doula’ pronounced ‘doo-la’ is a Greek word meaning ‘woman's servant or caregiver’.
A doula, also known as a birth companion or post-birth supporter is a non-medical person who assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, as well as their spouse and family, by providing physical assistance and emotional support. The provision of continuous support during labour is associated with improved maternal and foetal health and a variety of other benefits, including lower risk of interventions and less need for pain relief. These benefits are particularly significant when continuous support is provided by someone who is not there as family/friend or as medical staff. Additionally, a doula is sometimes hired to work with families beyond the postpartum stages, providing continued physical and emotional support, for as long as needed (sometimes, this support can be ongoing for several years).
These days most doulas will have completed some training to prepare them for the role.
Doula skills and training include:
-Birth education and preparation birth planning (including creating a written birth plan/birth preferences document)
-De-briefing previous births
-Massage and other comfort measures
-Optimal foetal positioning
-Suggest positions and changes to help ease pain and facilitate a smoother, more effective labour
-Provide reassurance and encouragement
-Talking through emotional blockages which may come up during pregnancy and in labour
-Keep your ‘environment’ going – aromatherapy, music, candles etc
-Assisting you with negotiation of your preferences
-Photography and/or video of the birth itself, as well as those precious first moments as a family
So much more!
Find out more about Jade's qualifications and experience over on the 'About Jade' page.