Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

The Doula Concept

Childbirth in our culture has changed a lot. In the 'days of yore', most women would have been around other women giving birth before their turn came. If I was going to try bunjee jumping for the first time, I sure would like to watch someone else do it first! But these days, it's not often that women have the opportunity to witness birth, and even after reading stacks of books you can still be wondering what it will really be like.

The other change is that one-to-one care from a known, self-chosen care provider is not always on offer in our current maternity system. Yet studies have shown that this approach is safer for both mother and baby and is associated with greater satisfaction for birthing women.

As your Doula, this is a gap I try to fill. I become a friendly face who you can count on to be familiar with your preferences, and in your corner to support them. You are able to get to know me during several visits through your pregnancy, when we will look at your birth options, share information and practice helpful skills together. You can count on me to be by your side from the moment you call me until the time you are safely tucked up with your newborn.

The research bears out that this kind of personalised support, termed "mothering the mother", not only has benefits for the actual labour, but also for the father's confidence and involvement, the relationship between mother and father, mother-baby bonding, breastfeeding and the baby's wellbeing.

A systematic review of evidence by the Cochrane library, involving more than 5000 women (Hodnett, 2003) found that:

"The continuous presence of a support person reduced the likelihood of medication for pain relief, operative vaginal delivery, caesarean delivery, and a 5-minute Apgar score less than 7." Continuous support was also associated with a slight reduction in the length of labour.

Earlier research show similar findings. Klaus, Kennell and Klaus (1993) itemised the positive effects of doula care as:
  • 50% reduction on cesarean rates
  • 25% shorter labor
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests
  • 40% reduction in syntocinon use
  • 30% reduction in analgesia use
  • 40% reduction in forceps delivery
From my personal experience, witnessing the couples I work with grow in knowledge, awareness and confidence and go on to experience the birth of their dreams, has convinced me that doula support does make a significant difference.

Here's a few comments from some of the delightful couples I have been privileged to work with:
  • "After meeting Julie, my expectations of birth radically changed from fear and anxiety to strength and determination."

  • "After a previous traumatic birth, Julie's support, knowledge and belief in me is why I was able to have the kind of positive birth experience that I thought was only possible in fairy tales."

  • "Our birth experience was perfect for us because thanks to Julie, we were well-informed and felt empowered to make good decisions.
You may be wondering what 'Doula' means! It's from the Greek word that literally means 'servant', from the days when the doula was a trusted servant who would assist the lady of the house with everything from dressing to childbirth. The term 'birth attendant' is also used.

Article: I'll Have What She's Having - how doula care enhances your birth experience

Here are some short clips from Youtube:
"What is a Doula?"

"The Difference Between a Midwife and a Doula"

"Why Have a Doula"


Doula support more effective in improving obstetric outcomes

This February 2011 review confirms previous findings that improved obstetric outcomes are associated with continuous support, especially the support of a doula.


AngelsMum said...

What a great description of what doulas are about. We need lots more of this information out there.

Anonymous said...

I had a doula at my birth and it was the best move I made. Your service sounds fantastic especially as it includes hire of the birth pool!