Frequently Asked Questions

While doulas are becoming more and more popular, you probably still have a lot of questions. First thing to know is that I service the Blue Mountains, Penrith and Hawkesbury areas. Click below to read more! If you have any hesitations or other queries, just get in contact!

  1. A doula is a trained professional who supports women during pregnancy, birth and often during the initial postpartum period.  They provide informational, emotional and physical support. The word ‘doula’ originated in Ancient Greece and is translated as “woman’s servant”. A doula will do whatever it is you need in order to feel safe and protected during labour and birth.
     

  2. The benefits for a mother include:

  • Greater reported satisfaction with their birth experience

  • Increased likelihood of a shorter labour

  • Reduced risk of needing to be induced

  • Reduced risk of needing forcep or vacuum extraction

  • Less risk of an emergency c-section

  • Less risk of postpartum depression

  • Empowerment through knowing decisions were well-informed

  • Experience of pregnancy, labour and birth is more likely to be woman-centred

    The benefits for a birth partner include:

  • Greater reported satisfaction with their experience of the labour and birth

  • Comforted in knowing a doula will be there should they need to take breaks and rest/eat

  • A doula can provide explanations and information during the labour and birth, should they have any concerns

  • Suggestions from the doula on how to best support their partner if they need any guidance

  • Able to be fully present and enjoy meeting their new baby, as the doula takes care of whatever it is the birth partner would like support with

    The benefits for a child include:
     

  • Increased chance of successful breastfeeding

  • Their Mum and her birth partner can be fully immersed in baby as the doula protects their space and preferences

  • More likely to be born into a calm, protected and quiet environment

    3. Yes, a doula can help you implement the techniques that you are taught during prenatal classes.  They are extremely familiar with these strategies and having a doula present to guide you and give you gentle reminders can be highly beneficial.  Furthermore, a doula’s support extends far beyond what is covered in prenatal classes.

    4. A doula is not a trained medical professional.  Their primary focus during your birth is your emotional wellbeing, your physical comfort and ensuring you understand all of your options.  They are there to do whatever it is you need in order to feel safe and protected. A doula provides continuity of support, and supporter.
    A midwife however is a trained medical professional, who can give medical care and advice. Your midwife may also refer to other medical professionals such as obstetricians and other clinicians for other aspects of medical care in your pregnancy and your labour.

    5. No.  A doula will not intervene in your medical care at any point.  Instead, they will ensure that you and your partner are fully informed throughout your pregnancy and empowered to fully participate in the decision making process around your body and your baby.  Medical facilities can be extremely chaotic places and medical professionals are often busy. A doula will take the time to explain procedures, answer questions, translate medical terminology, and communicate your wishes with medical staff.  They are your advocate.

    6. On the contrary!  Without being intrusive, a doula can help a partner feel more confident and more involved by providing gentle suggestions of support strategies. A doula can give your partner breaks so that they can better sustain their support of you.  Knowing that they can take a short break but still leave you in the hands of someone supportive and capable, can be a huge relief for your partner. Your partner may be wondering about how they are going to feel seeing you in labour and giving birth. A doula can help alleviate their fears and maintain communication with them about what might and what is happening at the time.Having said this, a doula also understands the intimate nature of giving birth and are experienced in giving you and your partner space and privacy when possible.

    7. A doula’s primary focus is to support your vision of your birth.  They can be as hands-on or as subtle and as unobtrusive as you like.  Ideally, you will have established a strong relationship with your doula prior to going into labour so your doula’s presence in the room should be comforting and comfortable.  They are also very experienced in these situations and understand the private nature of giving birth and will help to maintain your dignity and your space.

    8. No.  A doula supports your birth decisions, whatever they may be.  A doula provides objective, research-based information and 100% supports the informed choices you make about your body and your birth.  They are without judgement or agenda.

    9. Earlier in the pregnancy is better in the sense that you will have an informational support person to contact whenever you have questions like, “Is this normal?” or “What should I do when...?”. However, contacting a doula later in the pregnancy is totally fine too!  You will still be able to schedule meetings, discuss options and make plans for your birth.

© 2019 by Claire Heenan Doula

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