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Monday, 17 October 2011

The Hebden Doula

Mums-to-be in the Calder valley and surrounding area can now use the services of a properly qualified doula during their pregnancy, labour, and after the birth of their baby.

Mari Greenfield of The Hebden Doula, is the first doula in the area to be accepted by Doula UK as an official trainee doula. She will be offering non-medical support services for families planning home or hopspital births, providing both emotional and practical support to mums-to-be and dads-to-be. She also has extra training in providing care in the early days of parenthood, including specialist breastfeeding support, and baby massage qualifications.

"Doula" (pronounced "doola") is a Greek word which originally meant "woman caregiver". It is now used to mean an experienced woman who offers emotional and practical support to a woman (or couple) before, during and after childbirth. A doula will build a personal relationship with the family during pregnancy, so she can offer the right support to each individual family.

Most doulas offer a birth doula service and a postnatal doula service, and families can choose whether they want just pregnancy and birth support, or just post-natal support, or both.

What does a doula do?

A doula’s role is to empower the mother. A doula believes in “mothering the mother” - helping a woman to have the most satisfying and empowered time that she can during pregnancy, birth and the early days as a new mum. This type of support also helps the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience.

In practical terms this could involve:

  • providing access to information and research ante-natally
  • helping a couple think through their plans for birth, and work out what care will best suit them (local hospital, different hospital, home, birth centre, independent midwife)
  • being a consistent, reassuring and experienced presence during labour
  • taking on practical tasks during labour (filling pools, helping with other children, making cuppas), leaving the mum’s partner free to be with her
  • debriefing with the family after the birth
  • offering practical post-natal support
  • offering emotional support to adjust to life as a family rather than a couple, as a family of 4 rather than 3, etc
  • some doulas also have qualifications in breastfeeding counselling, infant massage, and babywearing.

See website for more information



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