Have you been wondering about hiring a doula for you upcoming birth?

Congratulations if you're expecting a little one soon! You're about to begin the most wonderful journey of your life. In preparing for birth you've probably come across the term 'doula' but if you weren't entirely sure what they really do or if it might be a good idea for you to have one for your birth then this article is just for you!

I've been following the lovely Claire from 'The Birthing Parents Club for some time now. She is a doula and hypnobirthing instructor and all round lovely lady! If you don't already follow her, go check her out on Instagram. Her page is full of helpful advice and guidance for expectant mamas!

Introducing Claire from the birthing parents club edinburgh

1. Tell me a little bit about you and what you do at The Birthing Parents Club.

2. What is a doula? What do they do?

A doula is essentially a professional birth partner - an objective support for pregnant people and their families. A doula might attend their client’s birth, provide them with care ante and/or post-natally; support virtually; or a combination of all of these. Each doula and the care they provide will be as unique as each individual and their experience of life.

I work with my clients to educate them on labour, birth & the post-natal period with evidence based research. I’m really passionate about making sure that my clients are fully informed of their rights and are confident and able to assert them. I also want to make it clear that as a doula, I don’t provide my clients with advice; I hold space for them to consider their options and make the decisions that feel rights for them. A mantra I love, and often come back to is ‘a doula does not guide, they walk alongside'.

Generally I will have 3 sessions with my clients during mid to late pregnancy. We’ll discuss their birth plans, their physiology, going through all of their options. Often people will want to include a bit of hypnobirthing teaching as well, but these sessions vary hugely from client to client. I always have an initial consultation to work out what you need from you and tailor all of my sessions toward meeting that need.

A really important point that I want to make is that doulas are entirely non-medical, so a doula is not a midwife, nor a replacement for one. I believe that a doula can be the perfect complement to midwives: two birthworkers with two entirely different skillsets working together to achieve a shared goal - a safe and positive birth experience centred around the person giving birth.

Hi everyone - I’m Claire, a hypnobirthing teacher & doula based in Edinburgh and I run Birthing Parents Club! Alongside supporting families as a doula, I run modern antenatal classes in which I combine my hypnobirthing teaching with knowledge about the physiology of birth, or in less fancy speak - how your amazing body was designed to give birth to your baby.

I’m also an occasional runner; lover of good food & cooking; mother to my tornado toddler Clementine; wife to my lovely husband Russell who runs The Edinburgh Catering Company; ball thrower to our little black spaniel, Biscuit.

3. What are the main advantages of having a doula?

The biggest pro of working with a doula is that they provide you with continuity of care during pregnancy and birth. This is something that, despite being known to be incredibly beneficial for people giving birth, it’s really quite rare to receive this kind of care on the NHS. Less than 9% of pregnant people will have the same midwife throughout antenatal, birth & postnatal care.

Supportive care from a doula during labour has been shown to enhance the physiological process of labour as well as improving the likeliness of a positive experience for the birthing person. People supported by a doula have been shown to have shorter labours and use less pain medication. They are also more likely to experience spontaneous vaginal birth, and less likely to have an instrumental birth (forceps or ventouse), or have an unplanned caesarean birth. Babies born with doula support have better Apgar scores and are more likely to breastfeed within the first hour of life.

While a trusted friend or relative may feel that they are able to act as a doula for birthers, the support they can give is affected by their preexisting relationship. The role of a professional doula is unique because they are able to be completely objective and have no other role in the person's life other than providing them with the support they need to birth their babies in the way that is right for them. The primary responsibility of a doula is to their client: not the birth partner, baby, midwife, doctor or any other person who may feel they have a role to play in an individual’s birth.

4. How do you find Doulas and know who is the right doula for you?

How do we find anything these days?! Get on google! Facebook and Instagram are also great for scouting out doulas; reading through previous posts you can get a bit of an idea as to whether or not you like their style. If you’re taking a hypnobirthing, NCT or pregnancy yoga class you could also ask your teacher if they know of any local doulas.

There are doula directories that you can have a look through as well though these won’t contain all of the doulas in your area. It’s generally pretty pricey to be listed on one of these lists as well being limited to doulas who have trained with specific courses.

The best advice I could give anyone looking to invite a doula in to their birth team would be to speak to a few different doulas. It is so important that you find someone that you like; that you feel safe with; and that you really believe will have a positive impact on your birth. Feeling comfortable and being relaxed are really crucial for the unfolding of birth, as well as making the experience a positive one for you so it’s crucial that you and your doula are on the same wavelength.

5. Any other information that might be useful for expectant parents thinking about a doula?

Think about what your priorities are for birth before you meet with any doulas. This way you can find out if they have experience which is relevant to your plans. Doulas will generally have special interests, some focus on caesarean, homebirth, vaginal-birth-after-caesarean, postnatal experience. For me - I really thrive supporting parents who have had a previous negative experience of birth and building up their confidence both in themselves and in birth.


Making the right choices for your birth

I hope this article has been helpful for you if you've been wondering about whether a doula might be right for you. Reading up about your choices and feeling as prepared as you can be for the arrival of your baby is key to having a positive birth.

If you'd like to know any more about doulas or hypnobirthing get in touch with Claire on the details below!

Wishing you a positive and happy birth!

Get in touch with Claire

If you're wondering about having a doula for your birth and would like to get in touch with Claire use the links below!

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