What is a Doula?

A birth doula is there for the woman for the entire journey (pregnancy, birth and post partum) – she is there for all the things the pregnant woman needs, she brings birth education and information, she is emotionally supportive and reassuring and she can possess unshakable faith in the birthing process.

In a stressful, unpredictable birth environment with many staff changing shifts, the doula provides a calming and reassuring presence throughout.

For a relatively affordable fee, you can hire a doula to be with you and to support your birth. They can attend at your home and any other site you visit during your birth. Doula packages generally include birth education, home visits, support during labour and birth and post partum visits and support.

A Birth Support (Doula) believes in the process of birth and the impact it has on parenting:

> She is a great, respectful listener
> She explains birth jargon and information and then gives the woman space to make her own informed decisions
> She trusts the woman’s instincts
> She acknowledges the power of birth
> She believes the birthing woman’s partner is the most important team member if that is right for that couple.
> She recognises birth as a non medical event, unless the woman asks for assistance for her or her baby
> She understands that the fewer people interrupting the woman and the process, the smoother the birth
> She knows that dim lighting always makes a difference
> She offers continuous support to the woman (and the womans’ team if they wish it)

Birth Support (Doula) specialise in non-medical skills and do not perform clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams or foetal heart rate monitoring.

Birth Support (Doula) facilitate the environment the mother needs to make calm, informed decisions during birth.

Cochrane studies tell us that “Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the womens social network, is experienced in providing labour support, and has at least a modest amount of training, appears to be most beneficial support for a labouring woman” (March 2011).

After examining twenty-one trials involving over 15,000 women, the review authors found that women who received continuous support during labour:

-were more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth
-were less likely to have analgesia during labour (ie: epidural)
-were less likely to report dissatisfaction with their labours
-had shorter labours
-were more likely to give birth without caesarean, vacuum or forceps
-were less likely to have regional analgesia
-were less likely to have babies with low 5 minute Apgar score

Give Natalie a call on 0406 934 645 and she will happily chat local doula recommendations with you.

NOTE: Natalie will be newly available in the Hunter as a doula herself. Due to a break in birth supporting since 2012/13, Natalie is currently re-qualifying and will soon open her books to take on two women around end of 2018 and beginning 2019 as a ‘student doula’ (entire package at the costs-only fee of $250).

SUGGESTED TIP: Meet three or more Birth Support Doulas and decide who you feel comfortable with, give yourself time and patience as you decide who to be honoured and be invited into your personal birthing space.

Natalie is a current member of the Doula Network Australia.

doula newcastle


birth support doula