Here, we explain what a doula is and how they can help you...
A doula is a person who offers support and assistance throughout your pregnancy, birth and during early parenthood. A birth doula specialises in pregnancy, where as a postnatal doula will support you at home after the birth. Some doulas will do both.
Although primarily there to support the mother, a doula can also help support your partner and family.
A doula will not have any formal medical or clinical training but will have experience of birth.
Some may also have undertaken a Doula course, which gives some basic training,
The majority of doulas work privately and are employed by their clients. Doula is a relatively new concept in India.
A doula is perfect if you don't live close to your family and friends and would like a bit of support throughout your pregnancy and birth.
A birth doula's role is to support you and your birth choices, to offer you confidence and help you to achieve the kind of birth you want.
There is evidence that having a birth doula can reduce intervention rates, shorten labour and improve the condition of the baby at birth. Postnatally, a doula increases the likelihood of successful breastfeeding.
During labour your doula can also help you to understand the choices your medical team offer and help you keep calm and focused; they can also speak for you if yo're unable to – for example during contractions.
Many doulas help women when they are near to their birth, throughout labour and just after the baby is born. However, you can make use of a doula's services at any time during your pregnancy and afterwards – it's up to you and your doula.
You may be daunted at the thought of going home with your new baby, especially if your time in hospital was very short after having had your baby. That's where a doula can come in really useful at helping you become confident as a new mother and ensuring your needs are met too.
When you contact a doula, it's important that you get on well and you feel comfortable with them. So, make an appointment to meet them before you sign up for their services.