Doula

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

A Doula… recognises that women have the power to birth from within and assists the mother in re-connecting to and accessing her 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 mother and the partner what is happening around them. She provides psychological encouragement and physical assistance. She also offers emotional support to both the mother and her 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.
She 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 she can explain to the parents what is happening around them so that much tension or anxiety may be relieved. She forms a bridge between the medical staff and the parents. She also acts as a buffer to unwanted intrusions. She helps 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 mother prior to the birth, the Doula knows what the mother and her partner’s birth plan is and what vision and wishes the parents have for the birth of their child.
She becomes the mother’s alternative voice during the labour, reaching out on behalf of the mother when she is unable to express herself about her needs and wants and makes sure that both parents’ wishes are respected. She provides an environment where the mother may feel secure and supported as the mother is aware that the Doula will remain with her throughout the labour and birth. The mother and 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 and dads do not need to be birth coaches, they can just be a partner and new parent in the birth. 

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

In recent times women 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 usually gave birth at home with the aid of their mothers, aunts and an experienced woman. The labouring mother was constantly surrounded by other women 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 have come to view themselves more and more as patients and have forgotten that they are capable childbearing women.
The Doula is a return to the ways of our foremothers. She is the supporting companion that reassures, encourages and assists in alleviating pain or stress. She is 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. Many caregivers welcome doulas as a part of the birthing team.

Research has conclusively shown that mothers who have continuous labour support in the form of a Doula or another female 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. She 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 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 things going the way you want whenever it is possible.
  • 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 Dad 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 for several hours and then a postnatal visit at home thereafter.

The cost of this package is 550€ and includes:
– a prenatal home visit or call depending on time
– 24hrs on call from the time of payment
– Labour, birth and immediate postpartum support
– 1 postnatal home visit

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.

The cost of this package is 900€ and includes:
– Several prenatal visits at home or elsewhere
– Assisting you to discover your 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 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.

The cost of this package is 1300€ and includes:
– Unlimited prenatal visits at home or elsewhere
– Assisting you to discover your 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 services: Closing ceremony, Belly binding, Postpartum meal train, Healing modalities of your choice

More information

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

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