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Doulas

Doulas

Receive continuous care and companionship throughout your birthing experience

How can Doulas nourish your soul?

From the early days of conception through to the first few weeks after birth, women and their families require support through every step of their pregnancy and birthing experience. This is the role undertaken by a Doula, a non-medically trained professional offering practical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. 

Derived from the Greek word meaning “women’s servant,” the primary role of a Doula is to facilitate a positive and empowering birth. By instilling confidence in the mother-to-be, listening to fears and managing expectations, Doula’s develop a trust-based relationship with women and their families to provide an optimum birthing experience. 

Importantly, a Doula’s role is to work alongside obstetricians and midwives, complementing the clinical advice of medical professionals by ‘filling the gaps’.

In Australia, Doulas are becoming an increasingly popular choice for mothers navigating their way through this life-changing period.

Benefits of Doulas

A Doula-assisted pregnancy and birth offers a plethora of benefits. 

Notably, women receiving trained Doula support approach birth with positivity in both how they view themselves, and what they can expect from the birthing experience.

In addition, the care and support received from a Doula has been shown to provide women with a favourable birth experience, with some of identified benefits including a decreased likelihood of having a caesarean or an epidural, shortened labour, and reduced use of oxytocin and pain medication. 

It has also been demonstrated that Doula care is associated with healthy birth outcomes, such as improved breastfeeding and less likelihood of having a baby with a low birth-weight. 

Doulas can assist in relieving symptoms related to:

  • Birthing
  • Breastfeeding
  • Parental support
  • Pregnancy
  • Relaxation
  • Women’s health

What to expect from a Doula session

The purpose of a Doula is to establish a relationship with you as the mother-to-be. As such, support is provided on a more long-term basis, and across the stages of your pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.

During pregnancy, a Doula may provide ongoing informational support, helping you make informed decisions and discuss any birth or post-birth expectations. 

During labour and birth, a Doula will remain by your side once labour has begun and until the baby is born, using non-medical techniques such as massage, heat therapy and positioning to create an optimal birthing environment. In addition, a Doula will facilitate effective communication between you as the mother, the midwife and/or the obstetrician. 

Importantly, as Doulas are not clinically-trained professionals, their role is not to diagnose, provide medical advice or interpret tests and scans. They provide an additional support framework offering emotional and practical care as an adjunct to the medical treatment provided by doctors and midwives. 

In Australia, a Doula can provide their services in any birth setting, including at home, a birth centre or in a hospital setting. These services are not covered by Medicare, and the cost of a Doula will depend on who is providing the service. Find a Doula is a comprehensive online directory providing information and resources about Doula services in Australia.  

If you are considering using a Doula during your pregnancy, please discuss this with your obstetrician and medical team who will be able to advise you on your individual circumstances. If you have any concerns at all, do inform your Doula who will be happy to address them and tailor the approach to your situation.

References 

Doula | raisingchildren.net.au

What is a Doula? | pregnancyparenting.org.au

What is a Doula? | australiandoulacollege.com.au

Trained or professional doulas in the support and care of pregnant and birthing women: a critical integrative review | Health & Social Care in the Community

The Role and Scope of Birth Doula Practice | International Childbirth Education Association

Midwives’ and doulas’ perspectives of the role of the doula in Australia: A qualitative study | Midwifery

Perceptions and experiences of labour companionship: a qualitative evidence synthesis (Review) | Cochrane Library

Benefits of having a trained Doula | australiandoulacollege.com.au

Impact of Doulas on Healthy Birth Outcomes | The Journal of Perinatal Education

What is a doula? | evidencebasedbirth.com

Doula vs. Midwife: What’s the Difference? | healthline.com

Doula | betterhealthvic.gov.au

Welcome to Find a Doula (Australia) | findadoula.com.au