Midwives & Doulas
What Is A Doula?
A birth doula is a professional birth companion who provides emotional and practical support to the mum and her partner, but doesn’t do anything medical. It’s like having your mum or your best friend to support you at your birth, someone who has a huge knowledge of birth and someone expectant parents can totally rely on to do pretty much anything to help!
What does a doula do?
A birth doula helps answer any questions, queries or concerns during the pregnancy and then really comes into her own at the birth performing many roles; from the very practical like making teas and answering doors to midwives, to the physical, being someone to hold onto whilst the mum is having contractions, to the emotional, reminding the mum to breathe and telling her how great she’s doing to being an advocate and explaining to the medical professionals the wishes of the expectant parents to help get the birth they want!
A postnatal doula is a cross between a maternity nurse and a mother’s help. A post-natal doula works with the mum a few hours a week after the baby is born to help the new mum be a new mum!The postnatal doula helps by doing whatever is needed; from providing emotional support and being there to answer any questions to helping establish breastfeeding and new baby routines, to doing practical things like doing chores that sometimes can get on top of a new mum, things like hanging out the washing, doing the washing up, making tea, taking the baby for a walk to give the mum some rest or washing / feeding / changing / cuddling the new baby!
What’s the difference between doulas and midwives?
Midwives are responsible for everything medical and so it is midwives who “deliver” the babies, doula’s don’t do anything medical.
In the UK, unless you are working with an independent midwife, then the midwife who sees you during your pregnancy might not be the person who delivers your baby. When you are in labour, NHS midwives work on shift systems and so your midwife during labour will probably be replaced by another midwife when her shift changes. Also, if you have your baby in hospital, midwives may “pop in and out” during your labour as they maybe tending to other women at the same time, returning for the actual birth. Doulas stay by your side for the entirety of the labour and birth, however long it lasts, they don’t have shift changes and they finally leave a few hours after the baby is born when the mum is completely settled.
**Special Note About Midwives Featured In The Film***
Midwives were present at all the births featured in “Doula! The Ultimate Birth Companion”.
Midwives do positively feature in the film and the film clearly shows it is the midwives who actually deliver the babies as well as provide emotional and practical support to the mothers.
In fact, the film shows midwives and doulas working really well together.
(Due to local health authority policy, we couldn’t show the faces of some of the midwives.)
If anyone has any questions about the midwives in this Doula! DVD, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
When do doulas do what they do?
Before the birth, the doula meets the parents-to-be several times in the months and weeks leading up to the birth and is on the end of the phone to answer any worries, queries or concerns about the birth. Then at 38 weeks, the doula goes on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, standing by her phone until the mum goes into labour, whatever time of the day and night that might be. The doula arrives and stays with the parents until after the baby is born, no matter how long it takes! There’s no shift changes with doulas and if there’s a move to hospital, the doula comes too!
As for postnatal doulas, they can start helping the mum from as soon as the first day and stay until the help isn’t needed anymore, which could be a few days, a few weeks or even a few months.
What about the dads / partners?
The doula is there to support both the mum and her partner. It’s a 3-way positive relationship where everything the doula does is for the good of both expectant parents. By providing practical support, this frees up the partner to be with the mum 100% of the time. By providing emotional support, the doula is the rock which either parent can rely on; she is there to answer any questions and to be the advocate if needed, or to step in if the partner needs to rest. It’s not about the doula taking over, it’s about her working with the parents to help them have the birth they want!
About The Doulas
Who are the doulas featured in the this Doula! movie?
Read more about Sally here:
Sally’s Profile: Doula UK profile
Read all about Caroline here:
Caroline’s Profile: Doula UK profile
Read more about Samsara here:
Samsara’s Profile: Doula UK profile
What about other doula film stories?
We are about to release some short doula video clips featuring other doula-supported birth stories with the following doulas. More information about this additional doula movie content coming soon:
Lina Clerke – Birth & Postnatal Doula, Birth Preparation Classes & CD’s
Kyla Williams – Birth Doula
Profile: Doula UK Profile
Valerie Goedkoop – Birth Doula, Postnatal Doula, Doula Trainer
Profile: Doula UK Profile