What does a doula do?
Last week I had the honour of being a doula for a couple who were having their first baby at home. It was a beautiful experience and it reinforced in me why birth doulas are needed and worth every penny.
- As usual I was called out before the community midwives to provide some support and reassurance during those early hours of labour. It meant they weren’t on their own and that can make a huge difference at any point during labour
- I was able to help with the TENS machine and to keep track of the contractions as well as ongoing support and reassurance that she was doing great, because she was
- I was able to provide ongoing support to allow dad to sleep and take a break
- I helped maintain the temperature in the birth pool
- When a transfer into hospital became necessary so packed up and off we went
- The first midwife in the maternity unit was very confident and positive but, at times, not sure my presence was needed. I wasn’t going anywhere and I was able to provide the one to one support that a labouring woman and her partner needs. As brilliant as a midwife is she simply can’t provide all the one to one care that a woman sometimes needs because midwives need to constantly make notes and do their clinical checks. This can sometimes seem never ending.
- I was able to be a voice with the midwives especially when the epidural failed to work
- I was able to sit back and allow the couple to be together
- Even when I was sat back to rest a little I was totally focused on my client so I could respond when her eyes searched for me and some reassurance
- I was able to give her a drink and I was able to apply lip balm
- Due to the length of labour I was able to provide ongoing support throughout all of it – I was with my client for 30 hours
- I was able to help my client to stay calm, reassured and relaxed as possible by using her breathing – especially when she needed to dig deep to keep going
- My client is my priority and my focus
I love being a doula and I wish I could do it more often than I do. I provide continuous emotional and practical support, hand holding and reassurance and guiding dads when needed. Doula support is an ideal way to supplement the care provided by midwives and I know it makes a difference.