What is a Doula ?
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 mother’s 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, hypnotherapy, 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 Midwives 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.
A Doula in London will probably be a member of Doula UK, and have attended a short course. Doulas charge by the hour and are a much cheaper option than a maternity nurse, and in Kensington Midwives’ opinion a better option as they look after the mother, allowing her the luxury of looking after her newborn baby.