Last updated on Apr 20th, 2021 at 10:41 am

What is a doula? “A doula is like the best friend that every labouring mother needs for care and support.”

Going into labour leaves a woman is completely vulnerable, and a birthing partner is the perfect person to help ease the process. Anyone can be your birthing partner; your sister, your mother-in-law (maybe), and even your husband. A trained professional, however, can be a game-changer during your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey.

Johannesburg-based private doula Katrina Meek says moms can hire a doula at any point.

“Hi Kat, you don’t know me but I am in labour and would like you to be my doula.” This one of the situations that doulas face, and it is perfectly normal.

You can hire a doula as early as discovering you are pregnant, or on your way to the hospital!

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The reassurance given by a professional doula gives women the confidence they need to trust their bodies and have an empowering birth. It does not matter which method you choose to deliver your baby.

C-section births are equally as hard on the body, and women experience similar thoughts and insecurities when giving birth. A doula can hold your hand through a planned or emergency C-section and reassure the mom.

Evidence shows that births with doulas present lead to:

  • Shorter labour time
  • Less requests for epidural
  • Predominantly vaginal births
  • Less use of oxytocin

Supporting both parents

A partner plays an important role in the birth, but also needs to be supported to provide the support the mom needs.

Doulas are support partners for both mom and dad and can tend to the needs of both. They are trained to be able to offer holistic support to ensure that birth is seamless.

Support during the fourth trimester

After the birth of a child, a woman experiences strain on both their mental and physical health. Navigating breastfeeding, and healing from a vaginal delivery or c-section can take their toll on new moms. A doula offers support during this stage of a woman’s motherhood journey.

Doulas “just get it”

They can be of paramount support during emotional stages, and offer the support that partners feel they have no experience. Like the birthing journey, a doula can advise your partner about what to do when you are struggling with insecurities or physical pain. They can do a house visit after the birth and ease the journey for both of you.

 

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