Hiring a Doula for my Second Pregnancy
Have you ever hired a Doula before? I hadn’t, in fact, during my first pregnancy I didn’t even know that support like this existed. Perhaps if I had, my birth with my first daughter would have been so much easier. This time around, I am seeking out the best possible support I can to ensure I have the pregnancy, labour and birth that I want to have. After having a traumatic birth with an emergency c-section which in all honestly feels like such a long time ago now, I feel a little more informed about how I want this pregnancy to go. I’ve decided to have a hospital birth, I’m going to be pushing for a VBAC and now, thanks to the Doula I have decided to hire, I feel so much more informed about my choices. Now my first trimester is over and I’m welcoming the second, I feel like it’s the right time to start making some choices about my birth plan and support.
What is a Doula
A Doula is someone that offers support throughout pregnancy and birth. Some Doulas also offer postnatal care. You can have a Doula for pregnancy and Birth only, postnatal only or both. It depends on your preferences. Hiring a Doula is the same as paying for a private service. Most Doulas are hired by clients and packages are offered at a price that reflects the support offered by the Doula personally. You can choose to hire a longstanding Doula with experience or a newly qualified Doula who may be a little cheaper. Doulas do not offer a clinical or medical service but often have holistic therapy training to enable them to provide a variety of support. No doubt, there is probably a Doula out there for every woman depending on her needs and preferences. For vulnerable women there are a few NHS Doulas and the Doula Access Fund, a charity that works with women in need of extra support and care as well as women’s refuges. I’ve spoken openly about my own time in a women’s refuge and I’m really glad that this charity exists.
Searching for a Doula
I literally searched ‘Doula in Hampshire’ because that’s where I live and was pushed to click through the Hampshire Doula website. There were a few ladies on there which advertised their websites and contact details. I was drawn to one in particular and clicked through to find out more about her services. I really liked the sort of package she was offering for a ‘Birth Only’ Doula and decided to send her a message. Her name is Sophie, she’s relatively close to me and she suggested that I interview her. We arranged a time and date that suited us both and as she was close to my hometown it was for later on that week. Sophie recommended that both myself and Adam were there to chat to her so we could both ask questions and get everything out in the open. If you’re based in Hampshire and would like to read about Sophie’s experience and packages you can visit her website.
Interviewing a Doula
Sophie said that the most important thing when hiring a Doula is that you connect with each other and I completely get that. Preparing for labour and birth is incredibly personal and you ultimately want someone with you who you feel is going to be supportive and encouraging. If you don’t like your Doula then it’s going to affect your birth and you won’t feel comfortable getting into the nitty gritty with them. Sophie has been a Doula for a few years and the testimonials on her website were really positive and encouraging. I was looking forward to meeting her and feel we connected right away. Rather than a full on interview it was a very casual chat about everything really. Sophie is so informed about women’s choices during pregnancy and birth, some of which I did not know I was entitled to refuse. Sometimes choices are pushed on you which make you feel a little anxious but I really feel that with Sophie’s help I will be armed with a lot of information and with the help of my medical support I will be able to make the choices that let me have the best possible labour and birth whether that is the very hoped for VBAC or the possible Elective C-Section.
What I loved about Sophie is her friendly, bubbly and upfront personality. She is completely on board with Hypnobirthing and Childbirth Aromatherapy which are two things I really want to use in this pregnancy. Whilst she recommended that we interviewed other Doula’s in the area and sleeping on it, Adam and I felt she was already the right choice for us. Sophie had an agreement for us to read through and sign and alongside this and paying the deposit she is booking us in for September.
Sophie is going to help us with our birth plan with some lengthy antenatal style visits, support me with hypnobirthing and go through the essential oils we can use. For a four week period around my due date Sophie will be available to me to assist with labour and birth including coming with me to the hospital. I feel that with Adam and Sophie, alongside my midwife and the staff at my chosen hospital I am going to be able to have a positive birth experience and I feel really good about the rest of this pregnancy. I will be writing more about using a Doula in my pregnancy updates and hopefully we will be able to tell you more when I write up our birth story.