Sunday, March 2, 2008

Questions & Answers

What is a Doula?

From the DONA website: "The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeeding more easily.

A Birth Doula

- Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life

- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor

- Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth

- Stays with the woman throughout the labor

- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decision

- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her clinical care providers

- Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience

- Allows the woman's partner to participate at their comfort level

Will a doula replace the role of my partner?

This is a really big question for many couples, a lot of Mum's-to-be are worried that by suggesting a doula to their partner they're insinuating their partner isn't good enough, and a lot of partners feel they'll be pushed out and irrelevant. A doula never takes over the role of the partner, a partners role is unique and a doula is their to support the couple.
We know from experience that when a partner is expected to provide all the support in a situation they've never encountered before this can be very stressful. We believe a partner should be able to relax, enjoy and marvel in their child's birth rather than concentrating on remembering all the information they had prenatally, or whether what's happening is 'normal'.

By having a doula present a partner can be exactly where the woman needs them, often by their head, holding their hand, talking to them while a doula provides other comfort measures in the background. From experience and training a doula can help the partner remember and suggest all the position changes, liquid intakes etc they may of learnt prenatally. It seems somehow strange that we should expect partners, who have often never seen a birth, and who are incredibly excited and probably a little anxious, to think clearly and rationally about what they 'should' do. A doula provides support to the woman but also enables the partner to be the best support they can be at the birth of their own child

Do I have to give birth at home to have a doula?

Hello Mama doulas want to create a space that is inclusive of your birth choices. This could mean a totally natural home birth, using pain medication in a hospital setting or a cesarean birth and the many other options in between. A doula will be happy accompany you to the hospital, if that is where you have chosen to give birth.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us on