Doula FAQ

The word Doula (doo-lah) comes from ancient Greek, and has come to mean a woman’s helper.

A doula’s role is to mother the mother, and in doing so she mothers the whole family. 

A doula provides non-medical, continuous, emotional and practical support during birth, as well as support during pregnancy and in the postnatal period.

A doula accompanies a birthing woman and her partner to their birth where ever that may be – at hospital, birth center, or at home. We work alongside your main health care provider in whichever model of care is chosen – public, private obstetric, midwifery group practice (MGP), birth centre, or private midwifery care.

Regardless of which model of care you have chosen, having a doula support you during this time is beneficial for the whole family, and can help to create a more nurtured beginning for everyone.

What about my husband/partner?

:: A doula does not replace a dad’s role in the birth – she enhances it ::

Historically women have always been supported by other women during their birth. We know that women often feel safer and more relaxed when they have a trusted support person with them in the birth room, someone who is there solely to ensure their emotional and practical well being. Feeling “supported” isn’t just woo woo, feel good concept that should be downplayed, because it has tangible, physiological impacts on how a mother’s birth can unfold.

A doula can provide essential support to dads, partners and other mothers regardless of whether it’s their first experience of birth or not. Birth and early parenting is often a time of intensity and great change, and having a doula to support dads and partners during this time allows them to also have a more nurtured experience.

Dad’s and partners have their own, often intense experiences, whilst supporting their birthing partner during the labour. Given this it is unfair to expect they will always be able to take on a role of being a labour coach, especially where birth is unfamiliar territory for them – which it often is, especially for dads! Having a doula present before, during and after the birth can help dads feel more relaxed and safe, which in turn helps them ‘show up’ and provide even better loving support for the birthing mother. After the birth it’s often the dads that express the most heartfelt thanks for me being there.

If your husband/partner is unsure about working with a doula, encourage them to explore this more with you, and address any misconceptions or fears that are underlying this. Honouring and taking action to get the support you need during this time is an important part of preparing for motherhood.

Doula brisbane Anne Castles

What was the most helpful part of having a doula? “The support for me and especially my husband. We would not have been able to stay at home for that long. Knowing someone with experience was present was good. Also simply knowing someone was here to help just the two of us.” – Martina & Nathan 2013, Mater Public Hospital, Brisbane.

How can a doula help me?

Many women find that having the continuous, nurturing presence of a Doula (as well as their partner/husband) assists them to navigate their birth journey with greater confidence. Research confirms that there are many positive benefits of having a doula to provide continuous support throughout labour and birth.

A supportive relationship with a Doula and the sense of being ‘held’ and nurtured can promote safety and reduce the rates of unplanned interventions during birth and help women start (or continue) their mothering experience from a healthier, happier place.

Research has shown the incredible difference it can make to have a doula by your side:

  • 50% reduction in caesarean rate
  • 25% shorter labour
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests
  • 40% reduction in oxytocin use (Syntocinon)
  • 30% reduction in analgesia use
  • 40% reduction in forceps delivery
  • Improved breastfeeding
  • Decreased incidence of postpartum depression
  • Greater maternal satisfaction
  • Greater partner satisfaction
  • Better mother-infant interaction

(Klaus, Kennel and Klaus, 1993)

Want to know more about doula services?