What Doulas Do
A doula is someone who will support women and their families through pregnancy and, most importantly, through childbirth.
The support of the doula is more practical, emotional and therapeutic than medical. A doula will do everything in her power to ensure that you have the most satisfying and empowered time that you can possibly have during the late stages of your pregnancy and giving birth.
Doulas work alongside midwives and doctors do not take a clinical role. They do not advise, but can support a woman to find balanced information to make informed decisions about her maternity care.
Why would I need a doula?
According to recent studies, women who are supported by doulas benefit by experiencing shorter labors and lower rates of epidural anaesthesia and caesarian section deliveries. The study also found that a smaller percentage of their babies suffered from fetal distress and/or were admitted to neonatal intensive care units.
“I began my journey as a Doula when I started to be asked by my massage clients to attend their birth.
I would like to help you to find confidence to follow your instincts. How you bring this new person into the world can determine so much in your parenting and the life of your child. I want to help you have the best possible experience in your childbirth and the early postpartum days, whatever that might mean for you!
I treat every family and baby I work with as individuals, with their owns needs and experiences separate from others.”
Priscilla Ferreira is our Holistic Therapist, who graduated in Physiotherapy, and has over 12 years’ experience. She has collaborated with The Women’s Wellness Centre from more than 8 years and we are proud to offer this important service which can support you during your pregnancy and birthing.
Birth doulas support women and families who are planning all modes of birth, from planned caesarean birth or early epidural to home water birth.
Antenatally, a birth doula will usually meet with the mother-to-be (and her partner if applicable) at least twice, and be available for phone or email support as questions or concerns arise. They will have the opportunity to talk over any concerns, work out their birth preferences and get to know
A birth doula will then go on call towards the end of pregnancy (typically around 37-38 weeks) and will then be available 24/7. The doula will then go to their clients when they ask during labour, typically before they transfer to a place of birth (if planning a hospital or birth centre birth) or the midwives arrive (with a home birth).
During Labour a doula provides emotional, practical and informational support to their clients, adapting to what is needed. The doula is able to offer help and suggestions on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning. If applicable, the doula can also encourage the partner to participate in the birth to a level at which they feel comfortable. The doula’s most important role is to provide nurturing, continuous support and reassurance.
What is included in the Birth Doula package?
- 3 antenatal sessions: Typical sessions include, sharing birth stories, thoughts about pregnancy, birth, and fears. Birth physiology, where to give birth and what are the differences, labour stages and what to expect, pain management, coping techniques, relaxation, aromatherapy, birth partners, birthing your placenta, golden hour and feeding, fourth trimester.
- Unlimited call, text
- On-call from 37 weeks
- Birth companion
- 1 postnatal session
Postnatal doulas typically start working with with a family in the first few months after birth, but some doulas do work with families with older babies too. Sometimes postnatal doulas are booked antenatally, sometimes only when a family find they are struggling or feel the need for more support. The length of time a postnatal doula spends with a family varies enormously from the initial 6-8 weeks, to years!
Postnatal doulas provide flexible practical and emotional support for new mothers and families in their own homes after birth.
The postnatal period an area that is much neglected, both cultural and by the health care system. In some cultures mothers benefit from the “Laying period” where they spend the first forty days, or so, resting and being nurtured by other women who bring them food, keep them warm and do all the house work, making sure they recovers from birth, focus on feeding and falling in love with their babies.
This way, women and their bodies are respected and celebrated for the amazing job they have just accomplished – growing and giving birth to a new life.
In our society, where everything seems to be rushed, there is pressure for women to come back to “normal” fast, for many reasons. Something so
natural as giving birth and be a mother, seems to be a struggle most of the time.
New mothers may feel they are alone and with very little emotional and practical support in the first days or weeks, and this is where postnatal doulas have a key role – they nurture and support the mother in the most amazing period of her life, but also when she feels more fragile and vulnerable.
What is included in the Postnatal Doula package?
- Feeding support
- Emotional support
- Baby-care, including bathing, nappy changing etc.
- Accompanying you to baby clinics, doctor’s appointments etc.
- Help with looking after older children
- Help with household duties
- Shopping and running errands
- Cooking light meals
- Night shifts
“We felt incredibly lucky to have Priscilla as our postnatal doula. She brought a sense of calm and stability into our house. She gently supported and guided my husband and me, from feeding and showing us how to bath and care for our twin daughters, through to cooking dinner and helping us with laundry. We often didn't realise just how much Priscilla had done until she left for the day. What I feel particularly grateful for is that it always felt like Priscilla was enabling us and never as if we couldn't do something ourselves - she just helped us to grow more and more confident. Our twin girls love Priscilla and we will be eternally grateful for the role she played in making the beginning of their lives such a happy and joyous time for us all."
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We offer the range of healthcare packages to support you with all your healthcare needs.