Should I Hire a Doula ?

Syanne Walker – Mother, Doula & Mental health Practitioner - www.VisionaryBirths.com

Doulas take care of women throughout pregnancy, labour and the first few months after birth. Birth doulas work with mothers throughout the labour no matter how long it lasts and support the parents and siblings through the process. Postnatal doulas help women settle back into life after birth. They can watch the baby whilst you take a bath and catch up on some sleep. Some will cook and take care of older siblings as well.

This is not a new concept some might be reading this and thinking my mum did that for me. It’s true in many cultures the woman’s mum assumes the role of the doula. However, not everyone lives near their parents or perhaps they have other commitments. Sometimes it’s not possible to get someone who can commit to giving you all that personalised time and attention that you need as a new mum.

Having someone who is knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth can make you and your partner feel more at ease. They are there to be your birthing companion, helping you achieve the most positive experience possible. Hiring a doula has been associated with reduced risk of caesarean section, reduced risk of instrumental birth and reduced use of pain relief. Further information and evidence can be found on the Doula UK & Cochrane websites.

So, should you hire a doula? This was one of the questions I asked myself when I was 8 months pregnant. I’d just finished buying the clothes, a crib and a pram for my baby. My bag was packed I thought I was ready! I was planning a nice hippy natural water birth in the hospital with no complications. In the end I concluded that I didn’t need one and that me and my husband were enough

Unfortunately, after a long and difficult labour resulting in a caesarean section, I immediately regretted this decision. My husband was so nervous for me he became unwell. Although he wanted to be he was not a very good support at all. A doula could have helped him to understand what was happening and talk me through my options and what they mean. I started having problems with my kidneys which could have been avoided a doula would have encouraged me to keep hydrated. The midwives were busy as they often have multiple women to look after and often can’t give you that individualised care they would like to.

It’s also important to add that doulas are not for everyone. I felt confident that I did not need one and regretted it but if you are comfortable that you have enough support in place and you have enough information to make informed choices then you will be fine. In conclusion, what’s most important is that you have constant physical and emotional support around you during pregnancy, birth and the early days. This can be in the form of family and friends or by hiring a doula. If you feel unable to cope at any time make sure you reach out to someone.

After my experience I now see the valuable work that doulas do, so much that I decided to become one! I completed my training with BirthBliss and am now working as a doula specialising in mental health, Muslim women, first time mums and relief for back pain labour. All motherhood group members can receive 20% off their quote for any birth, postnatal or antepartum package.

Check out my introduction video

Syanne Walker – Mother, Doula & Mental health Practitioner - www.VisionaryBirths.com

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