01 July 2011

Doula support for birthing couples

“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong” - Laura Stavoe-Harm

Kristie Ussher is an acupuncturist and herbalist and has a special interest in women’s health. She has recently completed her studies to be a doula.  What is a doula? Read on and find out!

What is a doula?
A doula refers to someone who provides non-medical, emotional and physical support to women and their partners during pregnancy, childbirth and in the early postnatal period.

Pregnancy and childbirth can be a deeply empowering experience. Doulas offer women unbiased information to assist them to make informed choices throughout their pregnancy, birth and into motherhood and support their decisions.

A doula can support you in birth centres, public and private hospitals and at homebirths with a qualified midwife.

How can a having a doula help?
Navigating your way through pregnancy can often be overwhelming and daunting and having the extra support from a doula can make this process easier.

Having the support of an experienced doula, that you trust and feel comfortable with, can help to reduce the length of labour by 25%. Research also shows that having doula support can significantly reduce the rate of medical intervention during birth.

• 50% reduction in the caesarean rate
• 25% shorter labour
• 60% reduction in epidural requests
• 40% reduction in oxytocin use
• 30% reduction in analgesia use
• 40% reduction in forceps delivery
• Increased rates of breastfeeding
• Increased self-esteem
• Decrease in feelings of anxiety
• Decreased occurrence of postnatal depression

Dads and Doulas
Reassurance & Emotional Support: Doulas are also there to support the partner. Sometimes it can be quite distressing to see your partner experience the discomforts of childbirth. A doula can help to reassure dad and help to answer any questions he may have during the process.

Supporting Him Support Her: Sometimes our partners don’t know where to start. Your doula can gently guide him to get involved.

Giving Dad a Break: Labour can be long! Your partner can step out and have a guilt-free break knowing that his loved one is being completely supported.

Stepping Back: Sometimes fathers would simply rather not be actively involved. They can relax and enjoy, knowing their partner is in good hands.

For more information about Doula services, please contact Kristie:

Pregnancy and Prebirth Acupuncture
Our acupuncturists at Ocean Acupuncture treat many women during pregnancy to assist in maintaining wellbeing as well as soothing the unwanted side effects of pregnancy.

We also offer prebirth acupuncture from week 36 to help prepare your body for childbirth... for more information see Belinda’s article.

This post is brought to you by Kristie Ussher, acupuncturist and Chinese medicine herbalist at Ocean Acupuncture in Curl Curl on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

Ocean Acupuncture is a natural medicine centre of independent health practitioners. The views expressed in this blog are the author's only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the other Ocean Acupuncture practitioners.
The information presented in this blog, and on the Ocean Acupuncture website, is for interest and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for health or medical information or advice. For health or medical advice, please consult your health professional.

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