What does a birth doula do? Your questions answered.
In this special series of blog on “Expert talks” today we bring you an exclusive insight into the world of birthing with a passionate and experienced professional Mathumathy V. Mathumathy is a certified birthing doula with experience of assisting in over 1500 normal deliveries in India. She is a pre & post Natal Fitness Trainer, Foot Reflexologist, dancer and owner of Active Baby Bump.
Whether you're a soon-to-be mom seeking guidance, a birth enthusiast, or someone curious about the profound impact a birth doula can have, this interview promises to be an enriching exploration. Let's embark on this journey together, discovering the beauty and strength that lies within the realm of birth with Mathumathy as our guide.
1.What exactly does a birth doula do?
Birth Doula supports physically and emotionally during labour & birth! She guides and doesn’t give any medical advice. Doula and the pregnant mother discuss everything during pregnancy and the mother takes a few consultations with the doula for better understanding and connection. That forms a beautiful bridge to work along during labour making it easier for the pregnant mother to transition into motherhood. So the top 5 things a doula will do is-
Help you make a birth plan.
Accompany you to your doctor visits.
Accompany you in labor and help you with coping and wait till delivery is done.
Help you establish breastfeeding.
Check on you once postpartum to monitor your mental health.
2. What if my hospital doesn't have a birth doula or does not encourage a doula present during delivery?
If the hospital doesn’t have a birth doula ,hire independently practising doulas! Mother can take the doula along with her in her prenatal visits to the hospital to introduce doula with her care provider. Doula and mother together can explain to the gynaecologist how they plan to work together in her pregnancy. Many gynaecologists now are aware of birth doulas and welcome their presence in the pregnancy. Collaborative Maternity Care works best
If the hospital is not allowing the doula in the labour ward, doula can give support during her active labour, till then mother can get doula support ,around pushing stage the mother will be taken to labour ward, meanwhile doula can give emotional support to the birthing family and the father.
3.Any thoughts on alternative birthing centres in India and advice to women considering them?
Alternative birth centres are gaining popularity in recent times as many mothers are looking for holistic experiences. Mothers want to be supported and not rushed into labour. Most alternative birth centres do encourage normal labour assisted by a doula and teach practices to deal with labour pain. It's a very good option for mothers to consider if its present in their city. In the future these centres might increase as mothers become more aware of what they want. These alternative birth centres are my recommendations-
Birth Village , Cochin
Sanctum Birth Centre - Hyderabad
Assagao Birthing Centre - Goa
Mother can definitely try such birth centres to experience the labour that starts on its own because they wait beyond the due date for the labour to start on its own.
4. What are the charges of hiring a doula?
The charges will vary from city to city but in Bangalore it would be in the range of INR 25000/- to INR 30,000/- These charges include 1-2 meetings with mother to understand her expectations, 1-2 meetings with the gynecologist, presence with the mother from the time of labor till delivery, being available on call the rest of the time and helping mother to establish breastfeeding. Even if due to medical complications mother needs medical interventions, the doula will be there giving her physical and emotional support. Think about it like your mother in law without the judgements and the benefits of being trained in child birth and pre and postpartum care!
5. Where can a pregnant mom connect with a birth doula in her pregnancy?
I personally recommend The Doula Collective , India. Mothers can connect with a doula in their city here. There are a lot of independent Doulas who are in practice, from various parts of India.
We are so grateful to Mathumathy V for sharing her valuable insights with us! You can connect with her on her website Active Baby bump.