BIRTH: What is a Doula and do I need one?

11 July 2019

There's so much information to take in when you are pregnant for the first time. You want to do the best for yourself and the baby... but how do you know what that is?

For extra labour support, many women are now turning to a doula to help them on the day.

Experienced and knowledgeable in labour and birth, a doula is a non-medical labour assistant who offers one-to-one continuous care throughout the birth. She is there to keep your environment calm and to provide strategies and emotional support to help you through labour, as well as communicate your wishes to the medical team.

A doula can also provide the partner with support and reassurance, helping him/her to participate better in the labour. You will usually meet with a doula once or twice prior to the birth and then they will be present for the duration of the birth.

Some doulas also offer postnatal care, with breastfeeding support, sleep and settling help and general support for new mums.

Having a doula present may:

  • reduce the use of drugs
  • decrease the rate of intervention
  • lead to higher satisfaction with birth
  • lower the chance of c-section

A doula can help a woman feel more empowered and supported to make decisions. She doesn’t take the place of your birthing partner or midwife, rather she becomes a gentle guide to support the connection between yourself and your partner. However, she is not there to provide medical advice or support in a medical role, and she has no medical training.

For more information about pregnancy and birth, check out our Bumper guide to pregnancy and birth and Secrets to organising your home for a baby

Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City
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