The word ‘doula’ comes from the Ancient Greek word ‘δούλη’, which means ‘female servant’. A doula is sometimes also known as a birth companion or post-birth supporter. This guide has been created to show you how to find a doula in London
So, why do people hire a doula? Studies have found that having the continuous support of a doula during birth can be associated with improved maternal and foetal health and well being. Many women describe how important the emotional and physical support of a doula was during their labour. Having a doula can also lower the risks of needing an induction or medical intervention, and many women who have a doula will need less pain relief during labour, according to statistics. Read on to discover how you can find a doula in London.
According to Dona, a birth doula is ‘a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother during childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible’.
To know more about:
- What a birth doulas is
- What a birth doula does
- The benefits of having a birth doula
- How much it costs to hire a birth doula
We recommend you read: Types of Doulas: Birth Doula
The role of a postnatal doula can vary, but generally it involves ‘working with a family in the first few months after birth, and sometimes working with families with older babies’ in order to ‘provide emotional, practical and informational support’ to a family.
To know more about:
- What a postnatal doula is
- What a postnatal doula does
- The benefits of having a postnatal doula
- How much it costs to hire a postnatal doula
We recommend you read: Types of Doulas: Postnatal Doula
How Do I Hire a Doula in London?
Whether you choose to go it alone or enlist a reputable agency such as Polo & Tweed to help you find a doula in London, this section should explain everything you’ll need to know.
How Much Does a Doula Cost?
Many birth doulas also offer postnatal services, therefore a doula will often offer packages that are designed to provide postnatal care too. If you want to hire a birth doula just for your labour, prices should be:
- Between £300 and £1000 for a mentored doula (one who’s not quite finished their training)
- Between £600 and £3000 or more for a fully recognised doula
Postnatal doulas usually charge per hour, and their prices are usually upwards of £15 per hour.
Expect prices to rise in line with the amount of experience and qualifications the doula has. All doulas are free to set their own prices, but many are happy to take your personal budget into account.
Where Do I Find a Doula in London?
Most qualified doulas will be registered with accredited bodies such as Doula UK, or will be on the directory of the organisation they qualified with. Doulas can also advertise themselves independently though their own businesses and independent websites. Many will also be registered with private staffing agencies like Polo & Tweed. If you would like help to find a Doula in London, Polo & Tweed would be happy to help you select your perfect match.
What to Ask a Doula During an Interview
If this is your first time hiring a doula, you may be wondering what to ask her during your first meeting or interview. We’ve compiled a much needed list of questions to ask your birth doula. If you need more guidance, or have any more questions on the selection process, then get in touch! Polo & Tweed would be happy to answer your questions.
Here is a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions that we get about doulas!
1. Are all doulas female?
Interestingly, we don’t know the answer to this. Part of the meaning of Doula is to ‘serve’, and that’s not gender specific. What we can say is that birth doulas are usually women, and some studies have found that women produce more oxytocin (the love and contentment hormone) when in groups of other women. This information is really useful because oxytocin is one of the most important hormones during birth. The presence of it can reduce labour pain and increase the speed of the labour. While we can’t say that you should always hire a female doula, there certainly seem to be benefits to it.
2. Can I leave my postnatal doula with my baby so that I can sleep?
Of course! You are under no obligation to sit and entertain your postnatal doula when she comes round. It’s almost the opposite: she is there to support you. If you want to go and have a nap or take a bath as soon as she walks in your front door, then just let her know and she’ll happily take the baby while you get some much needed rest.
3. Can my birth doula deliver my baby?
No, doulas cannot assist with delivery as they are not medically trained. Their role is to support you in your birthing journey. If your baby arrives before medical staff are able to intervene then your doula can help with catching your baby if birthed vaginally. She will also show you what to do until medical staff are able to assist.
4. Is my birth doula going to see me naked?
Possibly. Birthing is a very intense and personal process where labouring mothers often remove clothing to feel more comfortable, and lower areas also need to be clear for birthing. Also, if you are using a birth pool this might mean you have less clothes on.
You should always feel as though your dignity has been maintained during birth and if you feel uncomfortable with being totally undressed or having certain people (like family, trainee midwives or even your doula) around during the process, then let your doula know and she will ensure you are made as comfortable and private as possible.
5. What’s the difference between a postnatal doula and a maternity nurse?
This is a question that gets asked often. The difference between a maternity nurse and postnatal doula is that the former is there mainly to help you with your baby by guiding you on subject matters such as feeding, winding, bathing, colic and routines. They are also there to make sure that both you and baby are doing well.
On the other hand, a postnatal doula is there to support your caring needs. She will not teach or take over, but will ensure your comfort and provide all necessary support that you need to care for your own baby. Whilst your doula may have training on some aspects of feeding, they can only suggest rather than advise.
Do you have more questions about birth doulas or postnatal doulas? Read our blog on the subject here! Feel fully informed? Contact Polo & Tweed to help you find a doula in London.
Article written by the lovely Yasmin Aly.