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Doula – where to start?

(18 Posts)
AirMax1 Fri 26-Jul-13 17:04:55

Hi all

I'll try to keep the ins and outs of this brief, but I'm looking for some advice regarding doulas.

I'm 16 weeks pregnant, my partner has left because he doesn't want the baby. Originally from Edinburgh, I now live in east London and work in central London. I don't have support or friends in here.

The strain of the relationship break up (and subsequent financial pressures), lack of support and the stresses of pregnancy are taking their toll and I'm feeling pretty alone. I'm at UCLH and while everyone there is super helpful, obviously their resources are limited. I'm starting to feel quite depressed with it all and now my doctor has suggested that I take an antidepressant. This is not how I imagined having my first child!

I thought it might be worth considering a doula, though I have absolutely no idea whatsoever about the costs involved. Money is a huge issue so I really can't afford much, but I think it might be useful to have some dedicated support throughout my pregnancy.

Does anyone have any ideas and/or recommendations?

Thanks so much confused

MooseBeTimeForSpring Fri 26-Jul-13 17:09:14

Make contact with a couple of local doulas and have an interview with each of them so you find the one that you "click" with best. You might find a new doula or a doula in training who will charge you less.

I found my doula invaluable, although I ended up with a "elective" c section after my induction failed to progress labour.

AirMax1 Fri 26-Jul-13 17:13:59

Do they generally charge as a 'package' that includes presence at the birth then? I'm not sure whether I'm going to have my baby in London or go back to Edinburgh for the birth yet, but I do think support in the run up would be good.

MooseBeTimeForSpring Sun 28-Jul-13 03:30:01

Yes, the birth is usually included. Mine specialised in hypnobirthing, so her fee included a couple of home visits, the cd and notes for the hypnobirthing, the birth itself and a postnatal follow up.

Mine was super lovely. I was due 19 Dec. My DH took a week off over that date but had to go to work on Christmas Day as the baby still hadnt arrived. My Doula invited me to spend the day with her family.

Bunnylion Sun 28-Jul-13 07:36:12

My sister had one, which included 16 hours of home visits spread over the pregnancy, hypnobirthing sessions, being a birth partner and then 6 hours post natal. She said she didn't need any other anti natal classes and had access to the doulas library for further reading. I think she paid about £800. She said it was the best £800 she's ever spent.

I met another doula recently who offered a similar package to me for travel and materials expenses only, no fee. She's just starting out but completed her training, attended a couple of births before and is a mother.

Have a look at this website to do a local search and meet with some for a coffee/chat/casual interview. It seems normal practice to offer discounts, not only by new doulas building their experience, but also for women with financial issues like yourself.

Although I've never personally used one, I've only heard brilliant things from the 5 people who I know have done. Good luck x

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 07:39:32

They can be a nightmare if they interfere and the mother wants to listen to the doula rather than the medics. Dangerous IME. I understand you feel isolated but think hard, is there anyone else that could come and hold your hand, not for money?

Bunnylion Sun 28-Jul-13 07:41:20

PS - if you - or anyone else who is considering hiring a doula - earns under £16k a year then there is a fund to help you pay for a doula info here

DeputyDeputyChiefOfStaff Sun 28-Jul-13 07:48:29

Roshbegosh, a doula should never interfere. She is there to support the mother - that might involve helping the mother express her wishes to the medical staff, or giving further information, but she's not there to give advice.

OP, it could certainly be worth looking to see what services local doulas offer. Though it's standard to offer a package that includes home visits and birth, some do birth preparation as well - like individual antenatal classes. Or, maybe NCT, or other antenatal courses, could be useful. You would get support from the teacher - not as much individual attention as from a doula, but still someone who could answer your questions - and also from the other expectant mothers at the classes.

Good luck!

TangfasticMrFoxalastic Sun 28-Jul-13 07:51:38

I think you just need to find the right one for you, it's about matching personalities as well as reviewing their skills etc. A good doula would want you to meet more than one, just to make sure you're happy. I think if you're clear what personality you want to start with you'll have no trouble, they're a friendly lot smile

Some are also a breastfeeding counsellor, and has a birthing pool you can borrow, as well as reference books etc. Lots of options!

GherkinsAreAce Sun 28-Jul-13 07:53:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmandaCooper Sun 28-Jul-13 07:57:04

We paid £450 for our doula in the north of England. Again best money we ever spent. She did an initial visit before we signed up and then two further antenatal visits, she provided a tens machine with new batteries and pads as part of the package, plus she brought her birthing kit along to the birth with aromatherapy oils. We didn't call her until things got going properly - but in retrospect we wish we'd called her earlier. Her presence at the birth made all the difference. The mlu was very busy (it closed shortly after we arrived) and understaffed. For most of my labour I would have been labouring alone (well with DH but he was about as much use as a chocolate teapot by this point) if she hadn't been there.
She did aromatherapy and massage, which to my surprise really helped, and was just generally soothing and reassuring. She also fetched drinks, held my water, reminded me to drink, passed me energy tablets. Oh and put more money in the parking meter! It was just wonderful having someone there just for me who was completely calm and collected and had done and seen it all before.
We had one postnatal debrief but she would have done two if we'd wanted/needed a second.

GherkinsAreAce Sun 28-Jul-13 08:10:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 08:19:45

I didn't mean that all doulas are dangerous but if they overstep their role and the mother puts blind faith in them over the consultant it certainly can be dangerous and I have seen this happen.

Bullets Sun 28-Jul-13 08:31:59

We had a doula and it was the best money we spent on anything baby-related by a long way!

We had two pre-birth meetings and she was so fantastic about putting my mind at rest, making me believe I could actually do this, and reassuring DH who is a useless wimp and barely stayed conscious during the birth that it would all be okay.

She text or rang most days leading up to the birth, again really reassuring and supportive. During the birth she was amazing but not intrusive, and made sure I understood what was happening at each stage.

Part of her package also included two follow up sessions and they were invaluable for talking about the birth and getting it all straight in my head what happened when.

We are still friends and I love that she's part of DS's life.

I just googled Doula and our county.

Good luck OP!

AmandaCooper Sun 28-Jul-13 08:52:34

My doula wasn't the slightest bit dangerous! grin

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 09:26:26

I suppose you need a combination of a dangerous doula and a fuckwit mother for a problem to develop.

DeputyDeputyChiefOfStaff Sun 28-Jul-13 09:37:55

Maybe the issue is that anyone can call themselves a doula, but if you use a reputable organisation then she should not be remotely dangerous!

GherkinsAreAce Sun 28-Jul-13 11:46:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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