What is a Doula & Why do you need one?
A doula supports a woman and her partner during pregnancy, birth, and the early weeks of parenting, with reassurance, practical assistance, and information. A doula is someone you come to know well by the time of your birth, and who is there during your labor, by your side, focused solely on you and your partner. She can encourage you, remain objective, and help your partner feel more confident about how to support you.
“Historically, women have been attended and supported by other women during labour. However, in recent decades in hospitals worldwide, continuous support during labour has become the exception rather than the routine. Concerns about the consequent dehumanisation of women’s birth experiences have lad to calls for a return to continuous support by women for women during labour.” The Cochrane Database
There are many studies from around the world which have demonstrated very impressive benefits for the mother, father and baby, including:
- Less caesarean sections
- Less requests for epidurals
- Reduction in the use of synthetic oxytocin for inductions or augmentations
- Reduction in the use of pain medication
- Reduction in labour length
- Increased rates of breastfeeding at 6 weeks post birth
- Higher self esteem, less anxiety and less depression at 6 weeks post birth
According to the Cochrane Database Review, continuous labour support reduces a woman’s likelihood of having pain medication, increases her satisfaction and chances for ‘spontaneous’ birth, and has no known risks.
Doula Services also include:
- Practical knowledge on comfort measures for labor, such as massage and suggestions for positioning.
- Expert information and knowledge throughout your pregnancy and birth. Your doula is like an interpreter, answering your questions and helping you to effectively communicate with your medical caregivers.
The main focus of a doula’s role is often on the birth itself, but doula support can also be invaluable during pregnancy (especially if you face questions about tests or complications), and after the birth when she can help out with feeding and adjusting to life with a newborn.
Doula Services do not include:
- Acting as your nurse or midwife. As your Doula, my job is to be your support team, I do not provide clinical care such as doing examinations on you or checking your baby’s heartbeat. My role fits together with, but does not replace, the care of your doctor, midwife, or nurses.
- Doulas do not make decisions for you, or speak for you. This is your birth, your baby, your life! As your Doula, I will support you by providing information and explanations you may want about your choices, but it’s always you who decides what’s best for you.
I am a fully trained and certified Childbirth Doula with Childbirth International. Please contact me directly for details on my Doula Services in Brisbane. I am located in The Gap.
Giving Birth with a Doula – Briony’s Story
Briony’s Story – A Doula’s Perspective
Briony and her partner Luke attended Trish Cumming HypnoBirthing classes in 2014.
They originally planned for a home birth, however later they chose to go to the Birth Centre at Royal Brisbane Hospital.
During the HypnoBirthing classes they decided to use my Doula services.
Briony was adamant about wanting a natural birth with no medical intervention. Unfortunately her baby and Mother Nature had other ideas. In the last trimester, concerns were raised over the size of her baby and the associated risks of attempting vaginal birth with such a ‘big baby’.
Briony was scared, she had struggled to get pregnant, enduring the sometimes harsh interventions of IVF, and she was terrified of something happening that may hurt her unborn child. She began to seriously doubt her ability to give birth. As her Doula, we spoke about her fears and worries, we practiced her relaxation techniques and discussed her options in advance.
After a few trips to the hospital to check on the baby, she sensed that her baby wasn’t moving as much as he had been. Coupled with the suspected ‘big baby’ information and the sense of something ‘not being right,’ talk began to move towards the idea of artificial induction. The midwives understood Briony’s desire for a natural birth and were wonderful in providing her and her partner with all the options, leaving the decision on how best to proceed firmly in the hands of Briony and her partner. She now faced the very real possibility of having to forgo her dream of a natural birth. Understandably Briony was scared and confused.
It is in this type of unexpected situation that I think my role as a doula becomes even more valuable.
I act as an interpreter and advocate for birthing mums. I use my experience, knowledge and years of training to help guide you through the process of giving birth (regardless of what Mother Nature throws at you). I help you to take all the medical speak and jargon and focus on what’s important. I take away the fear and replace it with empowerment. I am your cheer squad when you don’t feel like cheering, I am your rock when you need support and I am your advocate when you can’t advocate for yourself.
As I joined Briony and her partner at the hospital we were able to discuss the risks and benefits of each method of induction, and even though time was of the essence, made sure that Briony and Luke felt confident in their decisions.
She eventually chose to have, what we decided to call an “Elective Emergency C-Section”.
When I left them at the hospital that night she was resigned to this change in birth plan, but happy enough that they had made an informed decision. Briony’s HypnoBirthing Classes were now paying off, she was calm, in control and relaxed.
In essence this is what HypnoBirthing (or even just empowered birth) is about, giving you the techniques, support and information you need to have a positive birth experience.
Childbirth Doula. The Gap, Ashgrove, Red Hill, Toowong, Keperra. Birth Support. Free Phone Consult
Research has shown that having a Doula at your birth can make a real difference to the outcome.
The risk of an emergency cesarean is reduced, as well as the chances of other interventions happening like episiotomy and assisted delivery.
How a mother interacts with her baby, her satisfaction with her birth and her relationship with her partner are all rated significantly higher with women who have had a Doula compared to those who have not!
Your Doula is your ally during your labour and in the weeks after. Often just having this additional support can help new Mums overcome the negative feelings of depression and overwhelm post-birth. However, if you do happen to experience post-partum depression or anxiety, your Doula will be able to recognise and ensure you get treatment early.
Positive Birth Experience Consultation
"- Chrissy Steinhardt , Home Birth, Natural Labour, No Drugs or medical intervention
Trish Cumming – You are a legend! She will do anything in her power to help women avoid the trauma she experienced and to achieve a natural, gentle birth – whatever that means for the mother. She is an awesome person to have on your team!"
"- Briony , Emergency Elective C-Section
I had Trish Cummings as my Doula, which was amazing. She gave me the support I needed to confidently make the right decisions for me and my baby."
"- Jade & Matt , HypnoBirthing Birth at RBH Birth Centre
It would not have been the amazing Natural birthing experience it was without her!! THANK YOU TRISH for your loving self and service. x."