Today’s blog focuses on the doula support that we can offer in pregnancy. However, In the first instance, let’s briefly explore what a doula actually is and where the word came from.
A little bit of history!
Dana Raphael (1926 – 2016), a medical anthropologist, advocated doulas for new parents, to help support their feeding choices – in particular those who wanted “to breast feed successfully”
She first identified the term doula, following a conversation with an elderly Greek woman, about how other cultures supported birthing and new parents, often in the form of the grandmother. This, the Greek woman told her, is a Doula.
Since the beginning of time, women have been supported during pregnancy, birth and early parenting. Up until the 19th century, traditional midwives provided this support. They may not have had formal training or medical knowledge but will have learned their skills from other midwives before them. Their role was to offer support, encouragement and reassurance to the birthing woman and to ensure safe ‘delivery’ of the placenta and care of the umbilical cord after the birth.
What is a Doula?
The modern day definition of a doula is (as per Cambridge Dictionary): ‘a person, typically without formal obstetric training, who provides guidance and support to a woman during pregnancy and during and after the birth of her baby’
What then, do Gabby and I offer you in pregnancy?
BirthTactics Doula Support - Pregnancy
Support may vary between women but usually it comprises of two ‘meetups’ – preferably face to face but also on zoom if this is not possible. The main purpose of this, is for us to get to know you and your birth partner better and to explore how you would like us to be there for you. These antenatal appointments are usually a couple of hours long and give us additional opportunities to provide guidance or sign post you to appropriate individuals or professionals. In short, if we can’t answer your questions, we usually know someone who can!
As well as face to face meetings, we also provide continuous email/WhatsApp/telephone contact throughout your pregnancy for reassurance and further guidance. Suffice to say, we get to know each other quite well by the time you birth your baby!
This pregnancy journey provides an ideal opportunity to ‘unpack’ previous birth experiences; explore birth plan options; your partner’s role and the support we can offer; packing your bags; Typical discussions will include:
How we keep in touch and our contact details
When we are on call for you
Comfort measure for birth including positions for birthing, massage, food & drink and pain relief
Relaxation and breathing including mindfulness and hypnobirthing techniques
How to keep Oxytocin flowing
This list is not exhaustive by any means and the aim is for you and your partner to approach your birth (whatever that looks like) feeling supported, calm and positive.
Gabby and I also have an extensive library of books and birth plan resources to support your choices.
If you are considering Birth or Post Natal Doula support, you can contact either of us at BirthTactics for a further chat via;
Gabby: 07976 245971
Lynne: 07784 329245