We are delighted to launch a film featuring several of our doulas explaining more about the Nurturing Birth Doula Course. So, for anyone who is interested in becoming a doula, or knowing how the Nurturing Birth Doula Course works, please visit https://vimeo.com/138516966
We are delighted to have our article “Mothering the Mothers” in the current issue of Juno magazine (http://www.junomagazine.com/out-now-issue-41/). In it Sophie discusses the role that postnatal doulas fulfil, particularly now that most of us no longer live in communities or villages where there is extended family to support new parents. Sophie talks about the different ways in which postnatal doulas can support new mothers – providing emotional, practical and information support to empower and nurture families. For your copy visit Juno Magazine’s website where you can subscribe for digital or paper copies.
In Monday’s Independent Hannah Fearn discussed how more women are employing doulas to support them during birth due to the fear of not having support from midwives. Whilst we welcome positive reports of doulas in the mainstream press there are a few comments that need clarification. It is certainly true that the use of doulas is increasing in the UK, and internationally, as women empower themselves and take responsibility for their birth experiences. However, doulas are not a new concept – there is much evidence to show that experienced local women have supported those giving birth since time began. Research consistently shows that having a doula present at a birth decreases the length of labour, reduces the number of caesarean sections, medical interventions and/or need for pain medication. It also shows that women have better breastfeeding initiation rates with a much higher percentage continuing to breastfeed at 6 weeks plus. It is imperative though, that a doula be recognised as a non-medical support. A doula does not undergo a medical training and never replaces the role of the midwife. She is there to provide emotional and practical support and to empower a woman to make informed choices, something that has been recognised by the charity Birthrights as being key to a woman’s positive mental state after birth. It is true that the current NHS provision for the majority of women means that they are not supported by a named midwife through their antenatal, perinatal and postnatal experience. Often they meet the midwife who is going to be at the birth of the baby on the day itself. Having someone by their side who has heard their concerns, hopes and expectations in advance of the birth can certainly allay fears and promote a positive environment for birth. Doulas aim to work alongside midwives, supporting them in their challenging role and enabling everyone to be their best on the day. Many doulas work hard to establish positive relationships with their local midwife teams, becoming members of the MSLC or Maternity Forums at their local hospital trusts, and setting up mutually beneficial events.
The subject of cost came up and the implication seems to be that doulas are looking to charge exploitatively. There are doulas who charge between £1000 and £2000, but the vast majority charge less than £1000, with many new or mentored doulas charging significantly less than £500. Doula UK has an Access Fund for anyone who has financial difficulties to support their employment of a doula. The birth doula role typically involves several meetings with the client antenatally, being available on the phone or email, going on call for up to 5 weeks, attending the birth (however long that may be), then returning to visit the clients postnatally a couple times to ensure that all is well. It requires a doula to ditch her day-to-day life at a moment’s notice with no idea of when she is able to return home.
Sadly the benefits of the postnatal doula were not discussed – the invaluable support that a doula can bring to a new family, helping them to settle in to their new parenting roles, providing information, supporting feeding, taking on some of the domestic responsibilities, making food, helping to look after other children etc. This cannot be overlooked, and goes far beyond the midwifery remit.
For information about the Doula Preparation courses provided by Nurturing Birth please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 422 2819.
Did you take a Doula course a long time ago? Have you taken time out? Do you need a confidence boost in your Doula practice?
In an interactive way we will provide an opportunity to:
- Identify where you are on your Doula journey
- Discuss the role and boundaries of the Birth-Postnatal Doula
- Learn practical skills in supporting women and families
- Practice listening skills
- Look at effective marketing of your business
Cost – £50
Contact us to register your interest: email@example.com or 0121 422 2819
Here’s an idea. Someone in your life has always expressed a desire to become a doula. She can’t afford it, so it hasn’t happened yet. How about buying a gift voucher towards her dream? We can make up gift vouchers to be exchanged in full or for part of a course at any time in the next 2 years. Contact the office on 0121 422 2819 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Nurturing Birth are delighted to see the revised NICE guidelines about Intrapartum care.
Particular changes in the guidelines have been made around women choosing place of birth, recognising that home is particularly suitable for low-risk multips (women who have given birth before) – that the rate of intervention is lower and outcome for the baby no different compared to an obstetric unit. Nurturing Birth recognizes that the new guidelines are in direct response to the research evidence in the 2011 Birthplace Cohort Study of over 64,000 fit and healthy women in the UK, birthing at home or in obstetric units. For first babies there was a slightly higher risk when born at home 9.3/1,000 compared to 5.3/1,000.
Commissioners and Providers have been told to ensure that all settings are made available for women to choose from, including home birth. Providers, senior staff and all healthcare professionals should ensure that in all birth settings there is a culture of respect for each woman as an individual undergoing a significant and emotionally intense life experience, so that the woman is in control, is listened to and is cared for with compassion, and that appropriate informed consent is sought. Senior staff should demonstrate, through their own words and behaviour, appropriate ways of relating to and talking about women and their birth companion(s), and of talking about birth and the choices to be made when giving birth.
There is a change in the recommendations so that fetal monitoring not be carried out on low-risk women in suspected or established labour as part of the initial assessment, and that any decision made about the woman’s care in labour should not be done on the monitor findings alone.
And, new recommendations that if a woman requests delayed cord clamping (over five minutes) that her choice should be supported.
For the full guidelines visit http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG190