What does a doula do?

This varies enormously depending on the needs of the woman and her partner.

It can include anything from melting into background in order to give a couple utmost privacy while being ready in case she is needed, making tea and delicious snacks for everyone, looking after older children, filling and emptying birth pools, doing the housework and filling the freezer with food for when the baby is born, offering encouragement, helping the parent/s to make informed decisions if something unexpected comes up, suggesting comfort measures, positions, breathing and vocalising. They can also and offer hands on pressure or massage or keep everyone away if you don’t want to be touched!

If the birth involves inductions, monitoring or drips etc., a doula can help women to work with this and find her natural birthing instincts. She can also help parents to advocate for themselves and make decisions they are happy with, about routine procedures and pain management.

If you are having a caesarean a doula can help support you through this so it is an experience you feel informed about and in control of. She can help with the recovery period practically and emotionally and support you have skin to skin with your baby and to breastfeed if you wish to.

Most importantly, a doula provides emotional support during an intense time, which may make all the difference to your experience and memories.

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