If you live in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire or Herefordshire UK, I am able to offer my services as your labour and birth doula. A full breakdown of what a doula is and what support I can offer can be read below.
My service fee as a birth doula is £580 and I offer home visits after birth to support you with breastfeeding, newborn care and coping with early parenthood as well.
The word doula is a Greek word meaning WOMEN’S SERVANT. Women have been serving others in childbirth for many centuries and have proven that support from another woman has a positive impact on the labour process.
The doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical and educational support to a mother during labour and birth and in the early weeks of her baby's life.
My purpose is to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience.
The doula-client relationship begins a few months before your baby is due. During this period, we develop a relationship in which you get to ask questions, talk about your fears and concerns, and take an active role in creating a birth plan.
As your doula:
I will visit you twice during your pregnancy to get to know your birth wishes; assist you with information and answers to your pregnancy and birth questions; and share techniques for a positive birth experience.
I do not in any way take the place of your husband or partner. In fact, I can empower them to be the best possible support to you through labour and birth.
I will be with you through your labour and birth, protecting your space and making it feel safe, private and comfortable.
I offer both calming emotional support and physical comfort measures such as massage, aromatherapy oils, visualisations and breathing and position changes.
I can provide a birth pool if you are contemplating a home birth.
I will visit you after the birth to debrief your birth experience, and to offer any support you need with feeding and caring for your baby.
As your doula, I will not provide any type of medical care. However, I am familiar with many aspects of birth and maternity care and am able to help you gain a better understanding of the procedures and possible complications that may come up for you.
Below is some additional info from the article "Having a Doula: Their Benefits and Purpose" by the American Pregnancy Association:
What are the benefits of having a doula?
Numerous studies have documented the benefits of having a doula present during labour. A recent Cochrane Review,CONTINUOUS SUPPORT FOR WOMEN DURING CHILDBIRTH, showed a very
high number of positive birth outcomes when a doula was present. With their support, women were less likely to have medications administered and less likely to have a caesarean birth. Women also reported having a more positive childbirth experience.1
Other studies have shown that having a doula as a member of the birth team decreases the overall caesarean rate by 50%, the length of labour by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, and requests for an epidural by 60%.2
Doulas often use the power of touch and massage to reduce stress and anxiety during labour. According to physicians Marshal Klaus and John Kennell, massage helps stimulate the production of natural oxytocin. The pituitary gland secretes natural oxytocin to the bloodstream (causing uterine contractions) and to the brain (resulting in feelings of well-being and drowsiness, along with a higher pain threshold).
Historically it was thought that intravenous oxytocin does not cross from the bloodstream into the brain in substantial amounts and, therefore, does not provide the same psychological benefits as natural oxytocin. However, more recent studies indicate that oxytocin administered nasally and/or intravenously may cross from the bloodstream into the brain. Nonetheless, doulas can help mothers experience the benefits of oxytocin naturally without the use of medication.
What about the father’s role when using a doula?
The role of the doula is never to take the place of husbands or partners in labour, but rather to complement and enhance their experience. Today, more husbands play an active role in the birth process. However, some partners prefer to enjoy the delivery without having to stand in as the labour coach.
By having a doula as a part of the birth team, a father is free to do whatever he chooses. They can encourage the father to use comfort techniques and can step in if he wants a break. Having a doula allows the father to support his partner emotionally during labour and to also enjoy the experience without the added pressure of trying to remember everything he learned in childbirth class!
Are doulas only useful if planning an unmedicated birth?
The presence of a doula can be beneficial no matter what type of birth you are planning. Many women report needing fewer interventions when they have one. But be aware that the primary role of the doula is to help mothers have a safe and pleasant birth–not to help them choose the type of birth.
For women who have decided to have a medicated birth, the doula will provide emotional, informational, and physical support through labour and the administration of medications. Doulas work alongside medicated mothers to help them deal with potential side effects. Doulas may also help with other needs where medication may be inadequate because even with medication, there is likely to be some degree of discomfort.
For a mother facing a caesarean, a doula can be helpful by providing constant support and encouragement. Often a caesarean results from an unexpected situation leaving a mother feeling unprepared, disappointed, and lonely. A doula can be attentive to the mother at all times throughout the caesarean, letting her know what is going on throughout the procedure. This can free the partner to attend to the baby and accompany the newborn to the nursery if there are complications.
What about other types of doulas?
Antepartum doulasprovide support to a mother who has been put on bed rest or is experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. They provide informational, emotional, physical, and practical support in circumstances that are often stressful, confusing, and emotionally draining.
Postpartum doulasprovide support in the first weeks after birth. They provide informational support about feeding and caring for the baby. They provide physical support by cleaning, cooking meals, and filling in when a new mother needs a break. They provide emotional support by encouraging a mother when she feels overwhelmed.
Some doulas have training in more than one area and are able to serve as more than one type of doula