By Laura Hayward White, recognised birth and postnatal Doula
Due to the severe reduction of external sources of support for parenthood, it is accepted that tragically there has been a sharp increase in Mental Health issues for expectant and new parents over the last twelve months. Covid-19 aside, there is also a National Campaign to raise awareness of Postnatal Depression in Fathers. Face-to-face support, whether this be health checks, support groups or simply those visits from friends and family is no longer accessible. And we do not appreciate how important that sense of community is, that sense of ‘being seen’, both literally and metaphorically, how important it is for mums to get out and go to appointments, breastfeeding groups, play areas and to mix with and observe other mothers.
A Doula provides emotional and physical comfort and ongoing support for the whole family through pregnancy, birth and in the early days of parenthood.
A Doula can also provide information and guidance regarding pregnancy, birth and postnatal period, and if she can’t help the parent, she can help find someone who can. The point of which is for the parents to be able to make informed decisions and choices and understand their changing environment.
If it is deemed that the parents need further support in the form of counselling then the Doula can signpost them accordingly.
However, Doulas do neither offer medical advice, nor provide medical care, nor speak for the mother or family on any medical matters.
The continuity of care with a Doula lowers not only the risk of Mental Health issues for both Mother and Father in the form of Postnatal Depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it increases breastfeeding success rates and reduces intervention during labour.
It is important for parents to interact with other parents but also for everyone be heard and to find the right place to ask the questions relevant to their family, as the Doula is there to listen, give confidence and not judge.
During confinement, video-conferencing services such as Webex, Zoom and Teams have been invaluable in facilitating communication with health professionals, family, and support groups. On-line Doula sessions will be general practical fact sharing sessions where expectant mothers and new parents will be invited to raise any issues no matter how trivial that they may be struggling with.
Aspects of informational support include suggesting techniques for labour, such as breathing and relaxation techniques, helping find evidence-based information about different options in pregnancy and childbirth, helping explain medical procedures beforehand, and any post birth advice and support for breast feeding issues, sleep quality, nappies, etc.
The content of the session remains strictly private and confidential, as well as independent from the corporate environment.
Laura is registered to the Doula UK association, and officially recognised as a birth and post natal Doula. She is a baby massage instructor (MSCM Holistic Massage) , a specialist in Pregnancy & Postnatal Bodywork including Massage and Scarwork.
Past Doula/Pregnancy courses
Well Mother Bristol (WMB) – Massage in Pregnancy and Labour part 1 & 2 –
WMB Workshops – Pelvic Pain Management & Postnatal Depression
Nurturing Project seminars -The State of the Art Breastfeeding & Breastfeeding with Jack Newman
Patrick Houser – Nurturing Birth Fathers To-Be-Study-Day
Middlesex School Complementary Medicine – Baby Massage in Pregnancy
Diploma Body Realignment with Body in Harmony 2017
Sharon Wheeler Scarwork courses
ITEC Holistic Massage Training – Anatomy & Physiology
Early Nurture – Breastfeeding workshop by Pam Lacey
Chelsea & Westminster hospital – Antenatal course & their Birthing Class.
Hypno Birthing Course by Julie Alexander
Currently training in:
TMJ Disorder with Blend Therapy Training
Three Step Rewind with Birthing Awareness
Holistic Sleep Revolution by Holistic Sleep Coaching Program
Understanding and Supporting PND by “Traumatic Birth Recovery” which specialises in working with Parents post traumatic Births.