Doula

If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.
– Dr. John H. Kennell.

A Doula… recognises that women (people) have the power to birth from within and assists the mother (person) in re-connecting to and accessing her (their) own “Mother Nature”. A Doula also provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective and informed viewpoint as well as assistance in getting the information that is needed so that empowered decisions can be made throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Rosalia Pihlajasaari

A Doula is a trained professional, most often a woman, who has knowledge of the biological processes of labour and childbirth. This knowledge is used to explain to the birthing mother/person and the partner what is happening around them. The doula provides psychological encouragement and physical assistance. They also offer emotional support to both the birthing mother/person and their partner during pregnancy. throughout the entire labour and delivery and also afterwards in the early postpartum. This is also known as mothering the mother.

What does “Doula” mean?

Doula is a Greek word meaning a “woman caregiver” or a “woman who supports or serves other women”. Other terms such as labour coach, monitrice, childbirth companion and labour assistant are also used to define this nurturing woman. Read more on Wikipedia.

What does a Doula do?

To understand the role of the Doula we must first distinguish it from other caregivers in the birthing process.
A Doula is not a doctor, nurse or midwife and is not involved in any medical decisions.
The Doula is trained in and has an understanding of the usual medical interventions so that they can explain to the parents what is happening around them so that much tension or anxiety may be relieved. They form a bridge between the medical staff and the parents. They also act as a buffer to unwanted intrusions. Doulas help the parents to work towards their birth vision and is present throughout the labour and birth, rather like a trusted best friend.
Having built a relationship with the birthing mother/person prior to the birth, the Doula knows what they and their partner’s birth plan is and what vision and wishes the parents have for the birth of their child.
The Doula becomes the birthing mother’s/person’s alternative voice during the labour, reaching out on behalf of the the birthing mother/person when they are unable to express themselves about their needs and wants and makes sure that both parents’ wishes are respected. They provide an environment where the birthing mother/person may feel secure and supported. This is accomplished because the birthing mother/person is aware that the Doula will remain with them throughout the labour and birth. The birthing mother/person and their partner therefore feel cared for and not alone. 
The Doula creates a special bond with the partner so that they too are supported and involved as much as they would like to be or are comfortable with. This means that partners do not need to be birth coaches, they can just be a father/partner and new parent during the birth. 

Do I need a Doula if I already have a doctor or midwife?

In recent times people have begun to rely more and more on medical science and have been birthing in hospitals or clinics. Medical interventions have become almost routine and in some cases even standard procedure.
In the times of our foreparents, women/people usually gave birth at home with the aid of their mothers, aunts and other experienced women/people. The labouring mother/person was constantly surrounded by other mother/people and was helped through all the various stages of labour, through to the birth itself and beyond.
Through the process of being hospitalised in order to give birth, women/people have come to view themselves more and more as patients and have forgotten that they are capable childbearing women/people.
The Doula is a return to the ways of our foremothers/parents. They are the supporting companion that reassures, encourages and assists in alleviating pain or stress. They are a companion aide to not only the parents to be, but also to other medical personnel, therefore relieving some of the burden felt by all in the birthing space. More and more caregivers welcome doulas as a part of the birthing team.

Research has conclusively shown that women/people who have continuous labour support in the form of a Doula or another understanding family member can achieve the following:

-Reduce the length of labour
-Reduce the likelihood of medication for pain relief
-Significantly lower the likelihood of a caesarean section
-Lower the likelihood of assisted deliveries
-Are less likely to fail to breastfeed
-Reduce the possibility of post natal depression
-And the baby had significantly higher APGAR scores.

The Doula represents a holistic approach to birthing. They may make use of a variety of methods and approaches to assist the birthing process and is always open to suggestions from the parents as to how they wish to proceed.

I offer Doula services in the Lahti area of Päijät-Häme as well as further afield should I be engaged to travel. I can also recommend qualified Doulas elsewhere in Finland should you wish to meet other doulas closer to your area.

The typical Doula experience entails much of the following:

  • Shop around for possible Doulas that could assist you, don’t leave it too late or they may be already fully booked.
  • Research a few different Doulas. Call your short list. Pick the ones you want to meet in person.
  • Make an appointment and meet with your first choice, try another if you don’t connect. Remember you choose your Doula.
  • Have a number of scheduled meetings during the pregnancy and discuss relevant topics. Get to know one another and become friends. It’s much nicer that way.
  • Trade contact details and action plan and introduce all the birth parties before labour begins.
  • The Doula work really kicks in when the contractions start.  The Doula can help you to cope with the sensation you are experiencing, work out when to call the midwife/Doctor/hospital and then zoom you to hospital or assist with filling your birthing pool.
  • Experience the best birth you can with focused and personalised support throughout whatever happens during your birth.
  • After birth, gaze at baby more and bond as a family while the Doula helps with formalities at hospital/clinic or helps tidy up at a home birth.
  • Get helpful insight about breastfeeding at the crucial early stages.
  • Enjoy looking at some of your pictures from the birth that your partner was too busy to take and share them with your friends and family overseas.
  • Meet with your Doula after to get confirmation that all is well and get advice on common difficulties as well as to have a debriefing session.

I offer several different packages.

Lite Doula Package

This involves emergency or quick doula care. There is minimal initial contact. If you discover that you need a doula in the very final stages of pregnancy (+39 weeks) or you are in labour then this package will cover you for doula support throughout your labour and birth and immediate postpartum.

This package includes:
– a prenatal phone call
– 24 hrs on call from the time of payment
– Labour, birth and immediate postpartum support
– 1 postnatal phone call

Basic Doula Package:

This involves traditional doula care. There are several prenatal visits at your home or a location of your choice, labour and birth quick prep, conversations to help you create your birth intention list, formulating a plan of action together with your partner and family. It includes doula support throughout your labour and birth and immediate postpartum for several hours and then postnatal visits at home thereafter.

This package includes:
– Several prenatal visits at home or elsewhere
– Assisting you to discover your own personal birth principles and preparing your birth intention list
– 24 hrs on call from the time of payment with text, email and phone support
– Availability to my lending library of books, dvd’s and other birth resources
– Access to a back up doula should it be necessary
– Labour support at home, birth and immediate postpartum support from when YOU feel you need me to be there with you
– A written timeline with pictures (time permitting)
– Several postnatal home visit to discuss your birth, follow up on any questions or doubts and making sure all is as it should be
– Breastfeeding information and support
– A well mother/person service: closing ceremony

Prime Doula Package:

This is the deluxe doula care package. There are unlimited prenatal visits at your home or a location of your choice, support at caregiver visits should you desire it, 12 hours of Birthing From Within antenatal preparation classes, conversations to help you create your birth intention list, formulating a plan of action together with your partner and family. It includes doula support throughout your labour and birth and immediate postpartum for several hours and then postnatal visits at home thereafter.

This package includes:
– Unlimited prenatal visits at home or elsewhere
– Assisting you to discover your own personal birth principles and preparing your birth intention list
– 24 hrs on call from the time of payment with unlimited text, email and phone support
– Availability to my lending library of books, dvd’s and other birth resources
– Access to a back up doula should it be necessary
– 12 hours of Birthing From Within Classes
– Labour support at home, birth and immediate postpartum support from when YOU feel you need me to be there with you
– Several postnatal home visit
– Breastfeeding information and support pre and post birth
– Well mother/person services: Closing ceremony, Belly binding, Postpartum meal train planning, Healing modalities of your choice.

More information

For pricing please visit the My prices link

For more information about Doulas in Finland please visit www.suomendoulat.fi

You can also peruse some of the links on the links page.