What is a doula?

The word ‘doula’ means ‘handmaiden’ or ‘servant’ in Ancient Greek. The term was coined in the US by Dana Raphael, a medical anthropologist, in her book ‘The Tender Gift’ which promotes the benefits of women teaching other women about mothering.

These days, a doula is a birth partner or post-birth partner. She helps a pregnant woman before, during and/or after the birth. Although she may previously have been a nurse or midwife, she is not a replacement for any medical staff. Her role is to support you – the parents – and specifically the mother, during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood.


Why I should be your doula

  • I am a fully trained and highly experienced Birth Doula with Doula UK. I also work for Doula UK as a mentor, guiding newly-qualified doulas through their traineeship.
  • I have attended many births at hospitals in north London including UCH, Barnet General, St Mary’s, The Whittington, The Royal Free, Edgware Birthing Centre and Watford General. I am always delighted when asked to attend a home birth, and am used to working with both independent and NHS midwives.
  • Whether in a birthing centre, consultant unit or attending a birth at home, you’ll appreciate my experience, calm presence and clear focus on supporting you and your partner during your labour.


What’s the difference between a doula and a maternity nurse?

Maternity nurses are baby-centred while doulas are mother-centred.

A maternity nurse will give you 24-hour care for six days a week and will get up at night with your baby and set a routine for him or her.

A doula will give advice and emotional support during the labour process and will help establish breastfeeding. Some post-birth doulas will even help with housework and cooking in order to free the mother to care for herself and the baby.


What hours does a doula work?

Some doulas are available to attend the birth itself, while others will work full-time or part-time after the birth, depending on your needs. Some mothers find that they only need help for a couple of weeks, while others value their doula so highly they want her with them for months. At a time when you need and deserve support and encouragement, a doula can be the answer to your prayers!


The benefits of having a doula

Having a doula at your child’s birth:

  • can shorten first-time labour by an average of two hours
  • can cut the chance of Caesarean section by 50%
  • can minimise the need for medication to help with pain