Doula

Woman to woman help in childbirth is the norm almost everywhere in the world. Men are usually absent and the emotional support, practical help and spiritual succour is offered by women friends, neighbours, in-laws or kin. (Sheila Kitzinger. Rediscovering Birth.)

Natalie and babyThe concept of a doula is age-old. A woman, experienced in birth herself, accompanies you through labour, offering practical care and loving kindness. She offers a hand to hold. Like Michel Odent, who trained me, I do not believe that women giving birth need supporting in the conventional sense, as if the woman is enfeebled by labour and needs ‘helping’ through it. Rather that she needs the comforting presence and full and sensitive attention of someone who knows and understands exactly what she is going through. Someone who can nod and smile and with just a look say, “this is exactly right, this is exactly as it should be. You are quite safe.”

If women could see the effects this simple reassurance can have on the progress of labour, the almost magical power the safety of the doula-mother relationship conjures, any fears they may feel about childbirth would be profoundly reduced.

Studies, only confirm this and show that women who have a doula present at their birth:

  • are 50% less likely to have a caesarean
  • find their labours are significantly shortened
  • have less need for medication
  • rate childbirth as less difficult and painful than do women not supported by a doula.(findings from Mothering the Mother, Klaus Kennell and Klaus 1999)

As your doula, I would provide:

  • 2 antenatal meetings to discuss birthchoices, preferences and practicalities
  • 24-hour phone access for two weeks either side of the birth
  • continuous emotional and practical support, for both the woman and her partner before, during and after birth
  • phone and email contact for other birth and pregnancy advice
  • 1 postnatal meeting (breastfeeding support and babycare advice)
  • postnatal phone and email contact

I am experienced in homebirth and waterbirth. I have attended c-sections and supported women through assisted births. I also speak German.

Please contact me for details of fees

Doula Home Support

The early stages of labour can be prolonged and confusing. It is here that women feel their most uncertain – like birth is a big unknown. Support during this period, while the woman can benefit from the security and familiarity of home, can be hugely effective – decreasing anxiety, increasing coping confidence, and often helping the woman to get into established labour before that crucially disturbing transfer to hospital. Once a woman has ‘found her way’, she is less likely to lose it when labour intensifies. I am now providing a new ‘at home’ service for women who are planning to have their babies in hospitals. After an initial assessment by phone, I will visit a woman in labour at home, reassure her, get her comfortable and help her to feel secure. The visit would last between 3 and 4 hours.

Please contact me for details of fees

Post-natal doula
The early days and weeks with a newborn are wonderful, but at times overwhelming too. It can be a huge comfort to a new mum know that someone is on hand to provide practical and emotional support – to make suggestions, offer reassurance, provide support with breastfeeding, cook, clean or just let her catch up on a few hours sleep. To mother the mother, in other words, so that she is better able to mother her child. I am a recognised post-natal doula and my fee is £20 per hour. For more information or to arrange a meeting, please contact Natalie direct.
Doula Phone Support
I now offer doula phone support, in the week (s) running up to labour, and during the labour itself. You can read more about his service here.