Wondering what doula is?
A doula is a non-medical person who supports a mother before, during, and after labour birth. Traditionally this would have been someone like your mom or best friend, someone that has experienced natural birth before. Today we have professionally trained doula’s whom many themselves have gone through natural birth, just like you are about to.
A doula has been trained in the biological process of labour and childbirth. She uses her knowledge to support, comfort, encourage and inform an expectant couple throughout the birth process. If you use a doula, you’ll likely build a relationship with her over your pregnancy, so that when your due date arrives, she’ll know how best to help you. What’s more, research shows that with a doula’s help, you’re less likely to need birth interventions, pain relief, or a cesarean section.
In 2017, Bohren et al. published an updated Cochrane review on the use of continuous support for women during childbirth. The researchers found that overall, birthing women who have continuous support from someone like a doula experience a:
- 25% decrease in the risk of Cesarean (39% decrease with a doula)
- 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth (15% increase with a doula)
- 10% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- Shorter labour (by an average of 41 minutes)
- 38% decrease in the baby’s risk of a low five-minute Apgar score
- 31% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience (mothers’ risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience was
reduced with continuous support provided by a doula, family member or friend, but not hospital staff)
- less Pitocin with continuous support from a doula.
Things a doula can do for you:
Physical support - Soothing with touch through the use of massage, counter pressure, or a rebozo. Helping to create a calm environment. Giving ice chips, food and drinks
Emotional support helps the birthing person feel cared for and feel a sense of pride and empowerment after birth. One of the doula’s primary goals is to care for the mother’s emotional health and enhance her ability to have positive birth memories (Gilland, 2010b).
Informational support -
Guiding the birthing person and their partner through labor
Suggesting techniques in labor, such as breathing, relaxation techniques, movement, and positioning (positioning is important both with and without epidurals)
Helping the partner understand what’s going on with their loved one’s labor (for example, interpreting the different sounds the birthing person makes).
Here is a list of Doulas I can personally recommend and have work with before:
Alma Wauts - 076 569 8041
Izanne Reichert - 084 206 3761
Katrina Meek - 083 790 0123
Chantal Wells - 082 926 1685
Bianca van der Merwe - 061 546 7020
Laurette Brand - 082 946 8803
Tersia Alkema - 061 778 1327