Can doulas help you have a natural birth?

I’ve just returned from meeting with a wonderful independent midwife and we talked about what’s happening with births in this country and I was shocked by what she told me.

In the UK, 24% of births are now by C-Section and it’s climbing. That’s incredible. Nearly a quarter of all births are by caesarean!

I’m learning  that part of the reason birth has become so medicalised has come from hospitals being so fearful of being sued and the consequent raised insurance premiums. Sometimes medical interventions become more of a risk management strategy rather than what’s in the interests of the expectant mother.

The lovely independent midwife said that she recently went to a discussion forum organised to canvas opinion about what midwifes actually think and the facilitator asked the midwives present a simple question:” What’s a normal birth?” . She said that most midwives answered that a normal birth involved drips, pain relief  and all manner of intervention including artificially breaking waters.

She said that quite frequently her expectant clients ask her tentatively – “is it possible for me to have a natural birth”?

I’m sure the same situation applies all over the world but what’s happened within our society to make a completely natural birth something outside what’s considered “normal”? Why do women have to ask if they can have a natural birth – surely that should be a choice or a human right??

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about this because of my own highly medicalised birth experience with my beautiful daughter when I was on a conveyor belt of medical intervention that ended with me having a c-section, which wasn’t at all what I wanted or wished for. This was before I knew about doulas and way before I knew that doulas can make such an amazing difference to a woman’s birth experience.

My own difficult birth story started me on the path I’m now on – which led me to make the DOULA! film and seems to leading me to make even more birth and doula related films.

Now I’m really getting it. Now the bee in my bonnet has turned into a swarm. Now I’m committed to turning that swarm into something positive. Watch this space!


Toni Harman, Producer DOULA! film



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