What is a Doula?
A doula is a trained childbirth professional who provides continuous emotional, practical and educational support to parents, before, during and after their baby's birth.
Doulas are not medical - we do not perform any medical tasks. During labour, we work in collaboration with your healthcare providers, helping to ensure that you feel safe, well cared for and that you are kept at the centre of your birth.
A doula's aim is to support you with emotional support and effective comfort measures during labour such as massage, breathing, movement and positioning.
A doula also signposts information to you based on your needs and situation. We know the hospital and maternity system well, so we can help you to navigate it if and when necessary! We also also seek to provide you with a safe, comfortable space during labour (whether you are planning to be on a birth centre, labour ward or at home) - and to support your birth partner too, enabling them to participate comfortably and confidently on the day.
There is a huge body of research showing the efficacy of having a doula.
In short, the research shows that women with are doula experience shorter labours, are more likely to deliver vaginally, there is significant reduction in medical intervention, induction, unplanned Cesareans, and crucially, women are more likely to rate their birth as positive when they have continuous support from a doula, with whom they have a trusting relationship (Bryom & Downe, 2019)
Why have a doula?
There are SO many proven researched benefits to having a doula (a birth partner who is experienced in childbirth, but who is not a family member or medical professional) support you during your birth experience. Here are just some of the findings from the research:
Research shows that when women have continuous support from a doula, there is:
a reduction in caesarean birth (women with a doula are 39% less likely to have an unplanned C Section)
reduction in instrumental birth
reduced need for painkillers or epidural during birth (9% reduction in use of ANY pain relief)
reduced rate of induction of labour (31% less women using syntocinon)
reduced rate of induction
reduced rate of post-natal depression
an increased likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth (12% increase)
women with a doula found to have shorter labours (by 41 minutes)
increased parental satisfaction with the birth experience
increased rate of successfully establishing breastfeeding
The 2017 Cochrane Review found that:
"Continuous support in labour may improve a number of outcomes for both mother and baby, and no adverse outcomes have been identified. Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman's own network, is experienced in providing labour support, and has at least a modest amount of training (such as a doula), appears beneficial"
- Cochrane Review 2017
The researchers at Evidence Based Birth have analysed the latest evidence on doulas. They conclude that:
"Of all the ways birth outcomes could be improved, continuous labor support seems like one of the most important and basic needs for birthing people. Providing labor support to birthing people is both risk-free and highly effective. Evidence shows that continuous support can decrease the risk of Cesarean, the use of medications for pain relief, and the risk of a low five minute Apgar score. Labor support also increases satisfaction and the chance of a spontaneous vaginal birth. Continuous support may also shorten labor and decrease the use of Pitocin. Although continuous support can also be offered by birth partners, midwives, nurses, or even some physicians, research has shown that with some outcomes, doulas have a stronger effect than other types of support persons. As such, doulas should be viewed by both parents and providers as a valuable, evidence-based member of the birth care team."
- Evidence Based Birth
"On questionnaires the day after delivery, 100 percent of couples with doula support rated their experience with the doula positively"
- McGrath, S K, Kennell, J A
What if my birth partner is unsure?
A doula’s role is very different from that of your birth partner, instantly dispelling the myth that doulas replace or push aside the partner. Birth partners come in many varieties - they may have little or no knowledge about birth, medical procedures, or what goes on in a hospital. Asking your partner to be your sole provider of emotional, practical and physical support during labour and birth is like asking them to be your tour guide in a country they have never been to before and where they don't speak the language.
As your doula, I will work alongside your birth partner, providing support for them too, helping them to understand what may be going on, and reassuring them along the way. As your doula, I will look after the practical side of things, allowing your partner to concentrate on just being there for you!
When it comes to birth, planning who is going to be in your team us key. A doula and a birth partner will give you all of the support, encouragement, strength, knowledge and love from all sides, helping you to achieve a positive birth experience.
We will meet either during your hypnobirthing course or at an introductory meeting before you commit, at which point we can happily discuss questions such as these and ensure we are all very comfortable with the different roles we will play.
What does the service include?
Before looking into having a doula, you may think you are just hiring someone to be at your birth and support you "on the day", as such.
In fact, the service and support you will receive from your doula extends far beyond the day of your baby's arrival.
If you would like to know more, please click the below button to get in touch
Package Options & Fees
The Complete Hypnobirthing + Birth Prep + Doula Support Package: £3,000
This is your ultimate birth preparation and support package which includes a full private hypnobirthing course enjoyed from the comfort of your home, or from Elise's beautiful teaching venue, The Wellness Space, at The Portland Hospital.
This package includes 5 x 2 hour private sessions with Elise where we will cover all aspects of your birth preparation and postpartum planning including infant feeding if desired. You will then have Elise "on call" for you 24/7 from week 38 until week 42 of your pregnancy. When you are in labour, Elise will join you and be with you, right up until you are settled and resting with your new baby! During your labour, I will stay with you, help you with comfort, relaxation and work with your care providers to ensure we are all one team, supporting you as best we can. I will also take photos and videos of you during labour, if you wish, so that you will have lots of precious memories to look back on. In addition to the labour support, you will benefit from continuous support via phone and whatsapp throughout your pregnancy, from time of booking right until your baby is 4 weeks old. Elise will also visit you for a postnatal visit for 2 hours in the first 2 weeks after your birth, where we will talk through your birth and discuss any areas you may like some further support with.
Fees payable in 2 x instalments,
Birth Doula Package: £2,500
This is the package for you if you have already taken the Birth Bubble hypnobirthing course and would like my support as your doula. This package includes; 2 x antenatal preparation meetings enjoyed from the comfort of your home (or The Portland if you prefer), 24/7 on-call period from week 38 until week 42 of your pregnancy, continuous support in pregnancy, labour and birth, birth attendance, birth photography/videos as desired, 1 x 2 hour postnatal visit, continuous phone and email support postnatally until baby is 4 weeks old
Fees payable in 2 x instalments
Virtual Doula Support ("Doula in your Pocket"): £675
One of the most important roles of a doula involves being on hand to support you emotionally, practically, and through education during pregnancy, labour and in the first few weeks with your baby. Having an experienced hypnobirthing coach and doula "in your pocket" - providing you with continuous support - can help you to utilise and really master all of the hypnobirthing techniques you have been learning in pregnancy, and in preparation for birth. With this package, Elise supports you virtually during pregnancy and in labour with phone support with you and your partner.
Click here to see the full breakdown of everything included in the Doula in Your Pocket Package
If you like the sound of the above packages, please contact Elise to arrange an initial phone call where we can have a chat in person about the services and I can answer any questions. It is so important that we "click" and that I am the right fit for you, so I always suggest we meet in person before you book any of my doula packages)
If you are happy to proceed, you will then receive a letter of agreement, and we will book in your hypnobirthing course &/or antenatal preparation sessions.
I look forward to hearing from you!
It’s hard to express how grateful we are to Elise, and it’s certainly no exaggeration to say that we don’t know how we would have gotten through labour and birth without her.
Both my husband and I were initially unsure about whether or not to fork out for a doula support. But since we started working with Elise I’ve said multiple times that I would happily double, triple what we did to have her support again.
From day one we had the best support we could have asked for. Elise is so knowledgeable and was always available to answer quick questions (or more typically my very rambling voice notes!). She always had information, advice, resources, or was just available to be be a kind, compassionate listening ear. And she made the content so fun and engaging!
During labour and birth, Elise was our team mate, advocate, and our rock. She had an uncanny ability to know exactly what we needed at any one time - be it a joke, some reassurance, or just a gentle touch on the hand. Whilst we had a complicated and difficult birth, Elise’s support was one saving grace and was invaluable.
Since the birth, Elise has still been there for us, for all of the random questions and worries that parenthood brings.
I can’t express how grateful we are to have had Elise at our side throughout. Her knowledge, compassion, and energy has been such a shining light to us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!