Traditionally, women have been attended by other women during birth and the preparation for birth. In Australia, 90% women choose to birth in hospital with their husbands/partners as their sole support. Husbands and partners are great, as no-one knows you like your husband or partner. However, expectations towards them are high – they are expected to know instinctively how to support you in a situation that they have never been in and that they may find confronting and overwhelming.
Modern-day doulas are women who are trained in supporting women through pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. Their role is non-medical and can include providing you with any information you may need to make decisions, helping you as you decide on your birth preferences, supporting you emotionally and physically through labour and birth, helping you to settle in with your new baby.
The doula’s job is not to replace the husband / partner, but to work around him / her, and enabling him / her to do as much as he / she wants. Doulas will not only provide reassurance to the husband / partner, but also enable him / her to do as much as he / she wants to do, offering suggestions that may be helpful to the birthing woman. Doulas also enable husbands/partners to have a break or a sleep if they need.
It is my aim of any doula for the birthing woman / couple to have her / their best possible birth experience and to make the journey into parenthood as smooth as possible.