What is a Doula?
A doula is someone who provides practical, physical and emotional support to parents before, during and after birth.
A doula is like "your best friend"; someone who goes "above and beyond" to provide personal support during what can be an anxious time in a woman's life.
Although not medically trained, birth doulas can work with midwives and doctors to help you have the best possible pregnancy and birth.
Postnatal doulas (also known as postpartum doulas) work with parents in the first few weeks after the birth. Postnatal doulas can provide practical help (hang up the washing, look after siblings, even do your washing up) as well as support with feeding and taking care of your new baby. A separate ten-minute section showing the work of two postnatal doulas is available as an additional extra on the DVD.
A Note About Midwives
Midwives were present at all the births in the film, but due to Health Authority regulations we were unable to feature them on camera which is a shame as we are huge advocates of midwifery as you will be able to tell from Freedom for Birth.
DOULA! Film Stories
The film shows three separate positive doula-supported birth stories.
DOULA! story 1:
Trainee doula Sally visits a couple late in the pregnancy to discuss their birth plan. Three weeks later, Sally is called out on a rainy night to the couple's home when Ali (the expectant mother) starts having contractions.
The film shows Sally providing practical, physical and emotional support to both parents whilst two midwives are also on-hand to provide medical support. Baby Beau is born in water in a beautiful positive birth. Sally stays to provide practical help to "settle in" the new baby, returning a few days later to see how the family are getting on. Sally's web site
DOULA! story 2:
Experienced doula Caroline arrives at a couple's home in the middle of the night. The mother (Rebecca) is having regular contractions and doula Caroline helps gives physical support to Rebecca then helps prepare the birth environment. Midwives are also in attendance.
When she feels ready, Rebecca gets into the birth pool and within an hour, her baby is born, without any pain medication. As requested by the parents, Caroline photographs the birth. Caroline settles Rebecca and her husband into bed with their new baby and then returns a few days later to the couple's home to discuss the birth and answer any questions the parents might have. Caroline's web site
DOULA! story 3:
Video diary footage shot by the father is intercut with interviews to tell the story of the actual birth that doesn't quite go to plan. Despite trying different positions suggested by doula Samsara, the labour "stalls" and after a discussion with the midwife, the parents decide to transfer to hospital.
With mother and baby starting to tire, an obstetrician suggests a c-section. Doula Samsara supports the parents as they prepare for surgery and within minutes, the baby is born (not featured in the film). Both parents view the c-section birth very positively, thanks to Samsara's unflagging support. Samsara returns to visit the parents two weeks later and is met with happy smiles and a very contented baby. Samsara's web site