Welcome to Herts Doulas

THE ROLE OF DOULAS The word ‘doula’ is a Greek word meaning ‘handmaiden’ or ‘servant’ but the modern doula is neither servant, but nor is she a midwife. The roles of a doula can be split into two – birth and post- birth. Birth doulas support a mother through the birthing process, often together with the father, and can act as an advocate between them and the midwife. They offer the comfort and calm that a female relative could give at this emotionally and physically trying time, sometimes using massage as an aid to relaxation. Research from England and particularly America have suggested that where a doula is present at a birth the labour is shorter, the need for medical intervention is lessened, and mothers were found to be more responsive to their babies. This is particularly reassuring if mum has had a previously poor experience of childbirth. Post-birth doulas assist the new mother AFTER the baby is born by helping her to establish breastfeeding, running a few errands, doing some light housework, helping with the care of any other children and providing opportunities for her to rest and recover from the birth. The doula also provides emotional support by encouraging mum to discuss her feelings about the birth and her new role, discussing aspects of babycare and by providing a shoulder to cry on or moan to if required. These are all tasks that in days gone by would have been provided by relatives who all lived nearby but today for various reasons, i.e. geography, work commitments, this is not always possible. Mums are bound to feel at a ‘low ebb’ after the birth and in today’s society they are not given enough encouragement to ‘recover’ and to look after themselves before being made to feel they should be ‘back on their feet’. Many women feel distressed that they cannot do everything as easily as before and sometimes, when feeling exhausted, even the simplest tasks can be overwhelming. Again research has suggested that the presence of a doula can help reduce post-natal depression as it allows mum to concentrate on bonding with her baby and time to rest without worrying about the running of the house. A post-birth doula comes into the house and assists the new parents in whatever way they feel is most useful. Dads appreciate this too as it takes some of the burden off him i.e. having to cook tea, iron his shirt for the next day etc and allowing him time also to bond with baby. The doula usually comes in for 4-5 hours a day, 3-4 times a week. Some mothers find they only need help for a couple weeks, others like their doula so much they use her for months. Doulas are NOT health professionals although some are nurses, and will not offer medical diagnosis or treatment. They exist primarily to help the mother.

Contact Information

Birth & Postnatal Doula support in Hertfordshire and surronding counties.

Phone: 07905-895466