THE INCREDIBLE BENEFITS OF HAVING A DOULA
Recent studies have shown the incredible benefits of having a doula. These include:
· 39% decrease in Caesarean
· 15% increase in the likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth
· Fewer interventions, including usage of forceps and ventouse
· 10% decrease in requests for epidurals and other drugs
· Shorter labours
38% decrease in baby's risk of a low five-minute Apgar score
· More successful breastfeeding, for longer
· A much more positive attitude to the birthing experience
· Higher self-esteem and less anxiety postpartum
When I first mention that I'm a doula, I can often see a look in people's eyes. They're either thinking:
"What the hell is a doula?"...or... "Shouldn't she be wearing tie-dye, wafting lavender around, and ranting about cleansing our chakras?!"
Well, as you might have guessed, that's not quite right.
A doula is a non-medical birth partner knowledgeable about labour and birth, and I am fiercely protective of the people who ask me to be their doula. I will advocate for you, and I will ensure you understand your birthrights, options, and choices and that your voice will be heard above all else.
During pregnancy, I will meet with you and your birth partner, get to know each other and find out your hopes and wishes for your labour. We'll create a birth plan, and I will debrief any previous birth experiences, removing any emotional blockages that may otherwise affect your labour. I also practice active birth and biomechanic positions and breathing techniques with you in your home.
As well as providing emotional and physical support during your labour, I also aim to maintain a peaceful, relaxed environment and ensure your birth preferences are met. Most importantly, I remain calm if things don't go to plan and support you and your partner throughout the process. I don't take over a partner's role but complement it. In my experience, partners welcome the extra support and feel more relaxed and confident after watching me with their loved ones.
I'll also visit you post-birth to debrief and to provide breastfeeding support if it is needed.
I am fully inclusive in my role as a doula and have supported all kinds of births. I work predominantly in North London, East London and Central London. Most of my work is with Homerton Hospital, Whittington Hospital, UCLH and North Middlesex. I have also supported births at St Thomas's, Whipps Cross and Royal London. I have been a doula for many home births, including when I caught the baby as it arrived before the midwife did!
Long story short, I consider my role to be supporting you to have the best birth possible for you, your partner and your baby.