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Why Hire A Doula?

Simply put, so you feel informed, supported and positive about your birth and postnatal experience, which is something that you will carry for years to come. As Ina May Gaskin said, “whenever and however you intend to give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body and your spirit for the rest of your life.” I also believe your experience of early parenthood will have a lasting impact too.

 

Investing in a doula will not guarantee you will have the birth you want (I’m afraid we don’t carry magic wands!), but it will significantly increase your chances of having a positive birth experience.

 

Preparing to welcome a baby into the world is a lot to get your head around. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there and it can be difficult to know where to invest your time and money. Plus, if you are a first-time parent, how can you possibly know exactly how much support you are going to need when it’s all new to you?

 

Are doulas really that helpful and worth my investment or just a luxury?

 

Would I rather spend the money on support which can be perceived as a ‘nice to have’ or the brand new pram I’ve got my eyes on? 

 

I totally get it, I was in that same position 6 years ago and bought the pram (and got very excited about it too!). But did the pram and all the other stuff really prepare me for birth and early parenthood or did it just make me feel more in control before the baby arrived? We're sold the line 'buy the stuff and all be fine!' but in reality, a lot of what is on the market just isn't needed or can be bought second-hand (better for the environment too!).

 

What if we tune in to what we really need? What if we prioritise support so we can positively reflect back on our births and postpartum in weeks, months or even years to come? I’m not saying it’s all roses and an easy ride but with the right support, our experience of birth can be positive no matter what happens and the transition to parenthood in the early weeks and months can be eased.

 

If you are still wondering whether or not to hire a doula, consider these questions:

 

  • Do I have a birth partner I can trust?

  • Do I really want my partner at the birth or do I just feel I should have them there? (having the right birth team is essential, they need to trust in the birth process and be able to support you effectively)

  • Do I have continuous support?

  • Do I know my birth choices and birth rights?

  • Do I feel confident I can remain calm and in control in labour?

  • Do I have family living locally or friends I can rely on for regular support?

  • Do I have the support to be cared for in the early postnatal period so I can focus on looking after my baby?

  • Do I feel confident and knowledgeable in caring for my newborn baby?

  • Who will I call on when I need a break / some rest / some nourishing meals prepared?

 

What’s the evidence for having a doula?


Having a doula can mean:

  • Reduced risk of Caesarean birth † *

  • Reduced risk of instrumental birth † *

  • Reduced need for painkillers or epidural during birth † *

  • Reduced rate of induction of labour † *

  • Shorter labour †

  • Increased parental satisfaction with the birth experience †

  • Increased likelihood of initiating breastfeeding *

  • Increased likelihood of successfully establishing breastfeeding & breastfeeding at 6 weeks *

  • Lower incidence of depressive symptomatology †

  • Improve equity and provide culturally responsive care#
     

* Brigstocke S. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, vol 24, no 2, 2014, pp 157-160

#Meghan A Bohren and Sarah Chapman Cochrane review
† Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub5 and Bohren MA, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C, Fukuzawa RK, Cuthbert A. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub6.

https://doula.org.uk/research/

An important note here – a lot of the above evidence shows how doulas can support physiological birth. It’s important to mention that doulas have a positive impact on ALL births and ALL journeys into parenting. Whatever your journey and whatever your choices, I am there to support you.

Some benefits of having a doula are difficult to measure but they include:

  • Continuous judgement-free care

  • A relationship with your doula built on trust

  • Building confidence in yourself, your body and your baby

  • Allowing you (and your birth partner) to trust the process of birth…

  • …and as a result, helping to remove fear so you can make decisions from a place of confidence

  • Security of knowing someone is there for you (and your partner) throughout your journey

  • Making sure you are listened to and cared for, ensuring you are at the centre of your experience

  • Teaching you how to advocate for yourself (or your partner or doula advocating for you)

  • Supporting you postnatally by nourishing and nurturing you

  • Supporting you emotionally in the postnatal period, giving you opportunities to share any concerns and questions you have

  • Providing breastfeeding support (some doulas have formal training, some don’t)

  • Providing unconditional support and encouragement

 

Having a baby is a life changing experience and going into it feeling supported, fully prepared, informed and in control will help keep you on the right path and guide you on your journey as a new parent.

 

To find out more about my birth, postnatal and overnight offerings, check out the different sections of my website. I’d love to hear from you if you are looking to hire a doula, either in-person (covering Swindon, Wiltshire and beyond) or virtually! x

October 2023

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