A Doula for Birth and Postnatal care
A Doula is a birth companion who will support you throughout the birth. She is primarily there to “mother the mother,” which is ideal for many mothers who feel that they would benefit form a little extra help, and for those who do not have family support. A Doula has no formal training and does not replace a midwife. They can offer practical advice, but should not offer medical advice.
Doulas are usually passionate advocates of normal birth, using natural ways to help mangage labour: water, massage, hypnobirthing, deep relaxation, breathing techniques in a calm, dark and safe environment.
A Birth Doula will support you through your birth. She will be able to visit you at home, and then be with you in the Hospital or NHS Birth Centre or stay with you if you have planned a Home Birth. She will remain with you throughout the birth, regardless of how long it is. Kensington Doulas find that continuity of care is the most valuable aspect of a Doula’s care, and research has shown that this can help reduce the length of labour and the use of drugs and other interventions.
A Private Doula is an extra pair of hands and can be hired for Postnatal work as well. Some Postnatal Doulas in London stay with families for a few months. They are able to help in any way that suits you, such as minding other small children, cooking, light cleaning and general support.
Kensington Doulas also has an option to have an overnight doula to stay with you to help you feed your baby through the night. She will sleep with your baby and bring her or him into your room to breastfeed. If you choose to express or bottlefeed during the night she will do this for you which will give you a good night’s sleep.
A London midwife often works as part of a team, so unfortunately you may not see the same midwife throughout your pregnancy. Within a London Hospital there is a multi-disciplinary team to which the midwife can refer should abnormalities occur, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, breech position or any pregnancy related problems.
During Labour your midwife will change at the end of her shift, which is usually 8am to 8pm and 8pm to 8 am. Because labour for a first baby is, on average, 12 hours, it is likely that you will have a change of midwife during your labour in hospital. Kensington Doulas always recommend staying at home for as long as possible, which is when a Doula will be very beneficial.