What is a doula?
Doula is a Greek word meaning "woman servant or caregiver". It now refers to an experienced woman who offers emotional and practical support to a woman (or couple) before, during and after childbirth. This support is non medical in nature. A doula believes in "mothering the mother" - enabling a woman to have the most satisfying and empowered time that she can during pregnancy, birth and the early days as a mum.
Pregnancy, childbirth and becoming a mother are some of the most profound and meaningful experiences of adulthood. I am passionate about supporting and nurturing women, educating and empowering them to have a positive experience.
Nurturing natural beginnings
As a mum and a professional Doula I have a broad understanding of both normal pregnancy and problems which may be associated with pregnancy. I understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labour. I will meet with you (and your partner) to discuss your hopes and any fears you may have. I can direct you to a wealth of useful literature, research papers, online resources and local networks to enable you to make informed decisions and secure the care and support that you decide is right for you. I can also assist you and your birth partner in preparing for and implementing your plans for birth.
As a qualified massage therapist, specialising in pregnancy massage, I can also offer massage treatments as part of the package, whether this be to help reduce the common pregnancy discomforts and relieve physical stress and strain or to promote relaxation and restful sleep or to give you some extra pampering through your pregnancy
Wherever you choose to give birth I can help facilitate communication between you, your birth partner and clinical care providers and will act to nurture and protect your birth space and experience.
During labour I provide continuous emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint. Numerous studies have shown that women who receive this continuous labour support are more likely to give birth ‘spontaneously’ i.e. give birth with neither caesarean, nor vacuum, nor forceps. In addition women are less likely to need to use pain medication, were more likely to be satisfied, and have shorter labours. Their babies were less likely to have low 5 minute Apgar Scores. No adverse effects were identified.
(Hodnett, ED., Gates, S., Hofmeyr, GJ. & Sakala, C. Continuous support for women during childbirth Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 3)
“Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers ~ strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.” – Barbara Katz Rothman
Babymoon and Beyond
After the birth I can offer additional postnatal support. This may be a couple of postnatal visits to help the new parents settle at home with their new baby, or extended postnatal support. I can also offer help and advice on establishing breastfeeding, or even just watch over baby whilst you have a much needed nap.
Research has shown that having a doula present at a birth:
· Shortens first time labours by an average of 2 hours
· Decreases the chance of caesarean section by 50%
· Decreases the need for pain medication
· Helps fathers participate with confidence
· Increases success in breastfeeding
(Findings from “Mothering The Mother” Klaus, Kennell & Klaus, 1993)
"If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it." Dr Marshall Klaus
"I decided I wanted a doula midway through my second pregnancy. It was important to me to find someone who not only believed that birth can be an amazing positive experience but would do everything possible to help me get that. I wanted someone who would support me in my birth choices, who would be physically and emotionally there for me and who would guard my birthing space against any unwanted distractions and intrusions. I immediately felt comfortable with Michaela and confident that she was the right person. She was friendly, warm and always available to talk things through. I had such a wonderful birthing experience with my son and I have no doubt that Michaela played a huge part in that. I don't remember the midwives presence very much, but I do remember feeling comforted and safe knowing that Michaela was right beside me to offer encouragement when I wanted it, to give me space when I wanted to focus on the process and to hold my hands in the final stages of birthing. She also managed to unobtrusively take photographs of my son as he was just born, which I will treasure forever." - Kendal, mum of 2
"As soon as we decided to invite Michaela to be our doula for the second homebirth in our family, her presence brought a sense of calm to the decisions we made about how we wanted the birth to be. She gave us strong and steady guidance, whilst respecting our choices and we would meet regularly to talk through options - from how to prepare on a practical level, what decisions we could make about birthing positions - and even how to help our four year old son to understand more about what would happen on the day. Michaela has a great deal of knowledge about every aspect of birthing and we felt that the information she shared gave us a huge amount of comfort and prepared us all really well.
On the night that our baby decided to arrive, we were so grateful to have Michaela there, as I birthed my baby so quickly that the midwife hadn't yet reached our house. Michaela was there to support us all through the final stages and after just 3 pushes, we were overjoyed to welcome little Polly, born with her caul.
Polly's birth was an incredible, life-changing experience and we feel that this was in no small part down to the support and guidance offered by our lovely doula, Michaela. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Michaela to others considering a doula, for either home or hospital birth - I just wish we'd known about her the first time around!" - Nicky, mum of 2
"I can't honestly thank Michaela enough for being my doula - having had two children already I knew that I wanted to do things my way as much as possible for the birth of my third child. Michaela empowered me to actually enjoy the birth and was a key element in a calm and smooth homebirth. It was so important to me to have another female present, whose role was to support me and who knew all my hopes and fears. An invaluable support with memories I will treasure." - Val, mum of 3
"Of all the predictions and decisions I made prior to the birth of my daughter, hiring Michaela was the best and most fulfilling decision I made. She listened to all of my concerns, acknowledged areas where I was uncertain and provided lots of information so that I could make an informed decision. If she disagreed with any of my decisions, I do not know, she kept her personal feelings to herself while successfully advocating my desires" - Emily, mum of 1
"I asked Michaela to be my doula for the birth of our third child to help bring calmness to the planned home birth. I really felt she listened and understood my wishes and hopes. During the last days of pregnancy it was great to receive just the right amount of supportive contact and Michaela sent me some lovely and perfectly relevant articles to read. It felt as though she was really waiting with us for the baby's arrival. In fact my labour was very fast, intense and not so calm but Michaela held me throughout, she helped us to cope and I'm so glad she was present.
It was also a great comfort to know there was an extra adult around to look after our other children too. Thanks Michaela for being an awesome doula and helping us to have a really positive birth experience." - Lauren, mum of 3
"After an unplanned c section for the birth of my son I knew I wanted to be at home and be in control for my 2nd birth. I decided that in order to have the birth I wanted I needed to give myself the best possible chance of making that happen - which meant having a doula! I wanted to have the support of another woman who would be there physically and emotionally. Someone to protect my space and be my voice. As soon as I met Michaela I knew she was the woman for me! Michaela offered a wealth of knowledge and literature particularly around VBAC's allowing my husband and I to feel completely confident in our decision to birth at home.
Michaela was an amazing support during my labour, especially as my husband spent most of it upstairs with my toddler. It wasn't the easiest of labours but I felt calm, supported and in control the whole time which was so important to me. With the support of Michaela I successfully birthed my beautiful daughter at home. And despite the tough labour it was an extremely positive and empowering experience; the belief in my body was restored and the power of women supporting women realised. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Michaela to anyone looking for a doula, our birth would not have been so successful/positive without her." Sarah, mum of 2
If you would like further information please give me a call.