Do I Need a Doula?
Throughout your pregnancy you may see a GP, an Obstetrician, a Midwife or a Doula (sometimes known as a trained birth attendant or labour coach). You may see one or the other, or a combination of all four, depending on you and your babys health, and your attitudes towards birth. If you’re in good health and if you hold a strong belief that birth should be as natural as possible, then you will benefit from the support of a Doula.
What does a Doula do?
Doulas are trained to provide parents with emotional and physical support in the lead-up to the birth of a baby, through the actual labour and on into the early months of parenthood. Their skills lie in assisting parents through a natural birth; they do not have medical training.
- Making you comfortable Doulas are well versed in non-medical strategies for the relief of pain. Your doula may offer massages, heat packs and breathing techniques to make you more comfortable, and use scents, water, light and music to create a more soothing environment for you.
- Facilitating labour Doulas are very knowledgeable about different birth positions. Your doula will be able to work with you to find positions that are comfortable for you and which encourage the delivery of your baby.
- Answering your questions Having been through the birth experience many times before, your doula is well placed to answer any questions you or your partner may have about whats going on.
- Partner support Often partners are unsure of a Doulas role. A good doula will work with a the mother and partner to provide the extra support in a birth team that is required for natural birth.
- Establishing breastfeeding Many doulas are also experienced breastfeeding consultants (you may want to consider this when selecting your doula). If thats the case, your doula will be able to help you establish breastfeeding in the hours after the birth of your baby, and in subsequent visits over the next few days.
- Helping you adjust Some parents engage a doula for the birth only, while others have a doula involved in their post-natal recovery. A post-natal doula can help you recover from the physical aspects of labour, perhaps advising on using massage, acupuncture or other non-medical therapies to ease your aches and pains. A post-natal doula will also help you work through the emotional and psychological impacts of the birth experience, talking to you about your labour and the feelings and sensations you experienced at the time and afterwards.
What does a doula NOT do?
A doula does not have medical training. Your doula will not perform clinical tasks like vaginal examinations, blood pressure readings or foetal heart monitoring and will not offer medical advice.
Why would I want a doula?
Doulas have two great advantages. One is that they encourage the idea of birth as a non-medical event: if you’re passionate about having a natural birth and avoiding medical intervention during your labour, you will find a strong ally in your doula who will advocate on your behalf whether you’re giving birth at home, in a birth centre or in a hospital.
The other is that doulas have very personal relationships with the parents in their care. When you go into labour, your doula will be there for you and you alone. You will have your doulas support and attention constantly throughout the birth of your baby. In Australia, it’s possible that you will have a similar level of personal attention if you’re giving birth at home with a midwife or in a birth centre or a small maternity hospital with an independent midwife . If, however, you’re giving birth in a large hospital, it’s more than likely that the doctors and midwives involved in your care will also be looking after other women. If having uninterrupted, personal support is important to you, then your best option is to engage a doula.
How much will it cost?
Engaging a doula for the birth of your baby usually costs between $1000 and $2000. Normally this would cover a couple of meetings before the birth, a couple of meetings after the birth, and uninterrupted attendance right through the labour.
How do I choose a doula?
In Australia, there is no government regulation around doulas. However, certain doula courses are registered with the governments National Register of Information on Training Packages, Qualifications, Courses, Units of Competency and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). Always ask for details of qualifications and make your own enquiries before committing to a doula.
If you are interested in inquiring about the BabyDoula Services please contact Caitlin below or on 0425 234 689