A doula is a person who is experienced in childbirth, who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother, father or partner, before, during and just after childbirth.

 

A birth doula will understand that birth is a key life experience that the mother will always remember and assist the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their wishes for the birth of their baby. The doula will understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of women in labour and during labour, and will stay by the side of the labouring woman throughout. The doula will provide emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make choices. The doula will facilitate communication between the labouring woman, her partner and medical care providers and perceives her role as one who nurtures the woman’s memory of her birth experience.

A postnatal doula recognises that becoming a mother is a life-changing event and understands that each new mother needs to find and discover her own way of mothering. The doula offers education and non-judgemental physical and emotional support during the first three months or more following the addition of a new baby to a family. The doula assists with newborn care, family adjustment, meal preparation and light household tidying. The doula offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and signposts and makes appropriate referrals when necessary.

Doulas are not medically trained and do not give any kind of advice. They do not carry out midwifery tasks, diagnose conditions, make decisions on behalf of their clients, pressure or try to convince their clients to do what they consider to be the best thing. They do not take over the partner’s role but offer support to them as well. The doula doesn’t usually change shifts or leave after a certain number of hours. They usually don’t plan to catch the baby.

Thanks to Kicki Hansard, BirthBliss.

Birth Doula

Birth and becoming a parent is a life-changing event which deserves understanding, respect and a warm, strong circle of support around you. As your birth doula, I provide continuous support through your pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks of parenthood, helping you, and your partner if you have one, to feel guided and nurtured.

We’ll meet several times before birth, to get to know each other and to build trust and understanding. These sessions are very much designed around your needs, but often they cover: preparing for birth, coping mechanisms, learning about and being familiar with the birth process, correspondence with health professionals, preparing a birth and postnatal plan, talking though any fears or anxieties and preparing for infant feeding. I also offer unlimited phone/text/email support.

I’d also love to hear about your birth story so far and what your hopes are for the future. This will enable me to fully support you. I can assist you in navigating the maternity landscape and support you to find and explore the birth options that are right for you. This may be a home or a hospital birth, intervention free, medicalised or somewhere in between. If you have any fears, about the unknown or from previous experiences, which you feel are not helpful to you, then we can work to help you feel lighter and more confident to give birth and to become a parent.

I will go on call from 10 days before your estimated due date until the baby is born, give continuous support through labour and birth (unless my role is to look after another child at home, while you go into hospital with your partner). After the birth, I will stay to make sure that you and the baby are settled and that skin to skin and feeding have been established. Often by this time you will be basking in your new family bubble and wish to have some private time. I will stay in touch by phone and then come and visit you the next day, either at home or in hospital, to check in with baby feeding, help with any worries, cook up some nutritious food or assist with newborn care while you rest.

I make two postnatal visits within the first few weeks after birth. These sessions often include listening to you tell your birth story, infant feeding support, newborn care, using slings, finding ways of adjusting to parenthood and managing lack of sleep,  cooking nutritious meals, looking after siblings and minding the baby while you get some much-needed rest. I can even do the dishes, hoover the floors, organise your cupboards or whatever it is that will help you to feel able to relax and nest with your baby. I also sign post to further specialist services if needed and offer phone/text/email support up to 6 weeks after the birth. If you would like to debrief your birth at a later time, we can do this anytime up to a year after birth.

There are many different types of doula and there is a doula for everyone. When we meet initially, this is the time to find out if we are a good match.

Please call 07980 552232 or email anna@birthstory.co.uk for prices and availability.

‘Anna is absolutely wonderful. She is calm, empathetic and knowledgeable. She has a very quiet way about her but you know that she takes absolutely no prisoners and we felt sure that she’d be confident to diplomatically advocate for us with the hospital staff should we need it’ Jo

Postnatal Doula

As your postnatal doula, I can be there on the other side when you bring home a newborn. You may need a gentle guiding hand, or just a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. Often, it’s just a chance to sleep while I hold the baby. There is so much advice and information out there that it’s easy to feel bamboozled, and when you’re in a state of exhaustion it’s sometimes hard to know what’s right for you and your baby. I’ll support and encourage you to trust your own instincts and find your own parenting style, rather than tell you what to do, and if needed, I’ll help you to find further specialist support.

Together we’ll work out how many hours and days a week you need and we’ll discuss what kind of support would be the best for you. These sessions often include listening to you tell your birth story, infant feeding support, newborn care, using slings, finding ways of adjusting to parenthood and managing lack of sleep, cooking nutritious meals, looking after siblings and minding the baby while you get some much-needed rest. I can even do the dishes, hoover the floors, organise your cupboards or whatever it is that will help you feel able to relax and nest with your baby. I will also signpost to further specialist services if needed.

Please call 07980 552232 or email anna@birthstory.co.uk for prices and availability.

‘In the first few weeks after birth, it was fantastic to have Anna around us. She gave support in a practical manner. But most importantly, she gave fantastic emotional support. We were lucky to have such a skilled, compassionate person to help guide us with our firstborn.’ Abigail