How do we accompany women?
The doula´s main target is to accompany the mother. This is carried out by offering her support free of judgement, caring but non-invasive attention, and most importantly, the open mind needed to understand the real needs of each woman.
During birth itself, either a at hospital or at home, the doula stays with the mother at all times, discreetly paying attention to her needs. Offering physical support when needed as well as emotional support right through the entire birth process, which is always held by a medical team.
After the birth, the doula will continue to accompany the mother at home, visiting as frequently as previously arranged or needed. She will attend to the mother’s progress and wellbeing as well as, if it is convenient, giving support in domestic chores, caring for her other children and such.
“The value of a doula lies in who she is, more than in what she knows or does..”
Most of the times, the mother finds all the necessary resources to attend to the new born within herself, but sometimes the intensity of the experience, together with the physical exhaustion and the interferences from our own environment make it more difficult to find her own voice; it is in these cases when the main role of the doula is to listen and acknowledge her emotional state, in order to strengthen her innate mothering abilities. This support will allow her to search for her own voice and intuition with confidence and joy.
A doula nowadays goes through a training that allows her to:
- Know the physiology of a normal birth.
- Know the physical process and recognise the main difficulties that can appear.
- Understand and support the emotional issues that appear during the puerperium.
- Value the importance of an early bond between mother and baby and how to encourage it.
A doula must
• Understand the physiology of birth, respect its process and time, and protect its intimacy.
• Understand the importance of emotional support for the pregnant woman, in any situation.
• Characterize herself with a discreet attitude, quiet and loving towards the mother.
• Respect scrupulously and at all times the woman’s decisions, even if she decides to continue without her.
• Provide the highest level of wellbeing possible at every moment.
• Prioritize the labouring woman’s needs above anybody else’s. Never to leave her alone, unless required or needed by the woman herself.
• Suggest and encourage the necessary means to aid the bond between mother and baby.
• Refer the mother to other professionals when she has needs beyond the doula’s competences.
• Hold an attitude of maximum respect towards medical teams, doctors, midwifes and nurses.
The doula mustn’t
• Impose her ideology or her own beliefs on the pregnant woman, neither on how she should experience birth or mothering and bringing up her baby.
• Impose on the pregnant woman any practice that might not be beneficial or pleasant. The doula must never lose sight of the uniqueness of every woman and her needs, and must respect them at all times.
• Perform any tasks that are the competence of the medical profession, even when qualified to do so. A woman acting as a doula doesn’t get involved in obstetrics matters.
• A doula must never go into conflicts with the medical team, neither intervene and never make comments that might be upsetting for the mother. The doula must find a way to support her whatever the situation might be.
You can expect the doula to
• Previously meet the mother, to establish a relationship of trust, honesty and mutual respect. This makes it easier for the doula to know the woman’s options and preferences, her likes and dislikes and any valuable information that will enable the doula to support her better.
• Encourage the mother to listen to herself, to know herself, and to ask for anything she needs at any given moment.
• Be clear about what her role is as well as her limitations.
• Keep and attitude of self observation and serenity.
Doulas Association of Catalonia
Is a space where doulas from Catalunya who share common views and objectives can have a voice and jointly spread their work. However, each doula takes full responsibility for her own work.