Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Doula?

A Doula is an experienced professional who provides continuous labor support, both physical and emotional, to the mother and partner.

What a doula is not…?

A Doula is not a medical professional, although doulas usually have a lot of experience with birth. A doula does not give medical advice, but will help you ask the right questions. A doula does not perform medical procedures. A doula does not make any decisions on your behalf, but will help you understand your options. A doula does not communicate your preferences to your birth team, but will help you communicate them.

What are the benefits of a doula?

Labour doulas are statistically proven to improve outcomes:

31% decrease in the use of Pitocin*

28% decrease in the risk of C-section*

12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth*

9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief

14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery

34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience*

*More info here.

Does a doula replace my partner?

No, quite the contrary. Doulas primarily attend hospital births, and work with all types of mums and families. Doulas have different styles and different strengths. It’s important to interview several doulas until you find one that is a good fit for you.

Are doulas just for hippies?

Absolutely not! Doulas are for anyone who wants a positive birth experience. Doulas are highly respected professionals who work just as well with doctors, midwives and nurses in hospitals and birth centres as they do in home births.

Are doulas accepted in hospitals?

Doulas have been working in hospitals for many years and doulas have been cultivating positive relationships with staff at the hospital. Hospitals recognize us as health practitioners. Nurses are often very happy to see a doula since this can mean the client is well educated on birth matters and she has extra support in the delivery and postpartum room.

What is your doula style?

I consider myself nurturing and hands on for physical support. For information and emotional support, I am a doula with a calm, confident and no nonsense style of communication. I am knowledgeable and easy going. Your birth goals are my birth goals. It is my job to support you 100%.

What if I want an epidural?

That’s great. I support you. Knowing what you want for your birth is the first step to being empowering in your choices.

While an epidural will relieve intense sensations, it will not calm your mind. My goal as a doula is help you feel educated, prepared and confident before labor begins. During labor, my goal is help you find your rhythm and use comfort measures in early labor so when you do decide to go to the hospital for pain medication, you will have progressed far enough along and not be sent home. If you choose to use pain medication, I will still stay with you and continue to provide emotional and informational support. Modern epidurals are gradual and you can control how much medication you receive. You may still feel sensations and you will still need physical support for comfort and to help with optimal positioning.

Resources

Websites

www.brookmaree.com.au – for beautiful and practical baby slings.  A good sling is something you should not be without.

www.maternal-instincts.com.au – a breastfeeding support resource featuring advice, videos and products to help you on your journey.

www.evidencebasedbirth.com – providing courses and newsletters featuring the latest evidence based birth information to empower you in your birthing choices.

www.blissfulherbs.com.au – a wonderful resource for all sorts of teas, tinctures and herbs to help with pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

www.gidgetfoundation.org.au – a not for profit organisation supporting the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents.

www.homebirthsydney.org.au – providing information on birthing at home, including a list of midwives.

www.midwifethinking.com – blogs by a respected and experienced midwife on all things pregnancy and birth related.

www.blissbirth.com.au – you can receive a 10% discount on the hire of a TENS machine by using the code – alisonhansendoula

www.bellybelly.com.au – a great resource for pregnancy, birth, babies and family life in general

Videos

www.thesearemyhours.com – This is a film like no other – raw, powerful and intense.  A birthing woman is powerful sight to behold, and this film captures it beautifully.

www.birthbecomesher.com/birth-videos – a stunning collection of birth stories from around the world – each one with the potential to change how you feel about birth forever.

Books

  • The First 40 Days (The essential guide to nourishing the new mother) by Hen Ou, Amely Greeven & Marisa Bolger
  • Well Adjusted Babies by Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreami
  • Birthing from Within by Rhea Dempsey
  • The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill
  • Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen

Additional Practitioners

Chiropractors

Acupuncturists

Yoga classes/teachers

Pregnancy Massage

Childbirth Classes

  • www.calmbirth.com.au – Susan Rebolledo – an empowering birth class that recognises the relationship between the mind and body during birth.

Naturopath

  • In Natures Hands – Rachel is a wonderful naturopath
  • Bella Vista Natural Therapies – from fertility to conception to postnatal