It's interesting to speak to the older generations of our families about their childbirth experiences. Not that long ago home births were the norm and people did not want to go to hospital to have their babies. You just need to watch an episode of Call The Midwife, set between the decades of the 1940's and 50's to see how things have changed. In those days families usually lived close by, often in the same street. Communities were close knit and doors were unlocked. When a woman had a baby, help was never far away in the form of meals being brought round, children visiting a friend for tea, or just a friendly ear. 

These days our families often don't live in the same country as us let alone the same street. Neighbours and friends go out to work during the day and often a new mum can feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of looking after a baby and keep everything else ticking over too!

It is important to rest and recover from birth, no matter how smooth it was, and even if you do have family near by it's nice to know that there is extra support on hand if you need it. And that's where a Doula comes in. So what is a Doula?

Doula; from ancient  greek meaning " a woman who serves".

Nowadays it describes the non medical birth companions who provide informational, practical and emotional support for the mother, before, during and after her birth. This support also extends to the mothers partner and children.

When asked what I do as a doula there is no way to specify. Doulas taylor their services to the needs and wishes of the women they are supporting. All women have differents needs and wishes so there can never be a one size fits all approach.

In a nutshell I would say the role of the doula is to help support the family through their pregnancy and birth, and to make it as easy and enjoyable for the mother as can be.

My role as a Doula can be split into three categories. Below are some of the common requests for support:

 

Antenatal support

  • Attending antenatal appointemnts with you

  • Supporting you to draw up your birth plan

  • Signposting to information

  • Debriefing past birth experiences

  • Supporting you to make informed desicions using B.R.A.I.N.S

  • Relax Breathe Birth session

  • Book lending

Birth Support

  • Continious practical and emotional support throughout your labour

  • Setting up the birthing room/environment

  • Supporting communications with health care professionals

  • Ensuring you remain as undisturbed as much as possible

  • Positive suggestions for promoting comfort, positioning, massage, affirmations

  • Ensuring snacks, drinks, toilet visits happen for both you and your partner

  • Taking any videos/photographs

  • Caring for siblings if needed

Postnatal support

  • Cleaning up after birth

  • Clearing any dishes and putting washing machine on

  • Prepare a light meal/snack

  • At least two visits in the weeks that follow birth

  • Birth debrief in needed

  • Breastfeeding support if required

  • Taking older siblings out for a few hours.

  • Light housework

Bonnie Hawkridge

10 Thistle Street

Burntisland

KY3 0EQ

07453 057723

bonnieewan@hotmail.com

greatexpectaions@yahoo.co.uk

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