Having a baby is an exciting time, whether it is your first or subsequent baby. Sometimes mothers find themselves wanting extra support, outside of their midwifery appointments and hospital visits and the best people to seek support from are doulas!
A doula is an invidual, most often a woman who is trained to provide expert support to families before, during and after pregnancy and birth. They provide an incredibly personalised service and whilst they may not be medically trained, their services are highly commended and valued by many for the deep connections with their clients, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
I had the opportunity to chat with my incredible friend and Birmingham’s BEST doula, Lorna who answered a few questions for us to learn more about her role and how she can support familes.
Have a read below!
Please introduce yourself and what being a Doula is all about (what you offer (all of your amazing services, your role and how/where you work).
Hello, I’m Lorna Phillip (aka Birmingham Doula) and I’m a trained birth and postnatal doula based in Birmingham. I support women and families all over the West and East Midlands region. Doulas are birth companions who will gently guide you through pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks of parenting. We provide birth education, a listening ear, support during your labour (whether at home or in hospital) and care for you, your baby and your family at home after baby has been born. I offer a package of essential birth services which includes hypnobirthing (teaching you how to relax deeply for birth), birth education, preparing nourishing meals for your freezer so you’re well fed after you’ve given birth, being with you during labour and birth, pregnancy/postnatal massages, 6 weeks of nurturing care in your home after you’ve had baby, specialist support from a pelvic physiotherapist and a lactation consultant (breastfeeding specialist). Many first time mothers aren’t aware that that these services are essential or that they even exist. They can waste a lot of time, energy and money searching online for goods and services that they won’t actually use or are not fit for purpose. I’ve seen it happen so many times and this is what prompted me to create this unique and bespoke package. I call it my ‘Birth Concierge’ package as this is exactly what concierges do – use their knowledge and experience to make all of the arrangements that are essential in helping you to have the best possible experience – saving you time, money and a lot of hassle!
Tell us about the benefits of having a doula.
Research has shown that having a doula at your birth can shorten the duration of your labour, labour can be less painful, fewer birth interventions used, increased breatfeeding initiation rates, less postnatal depresssion etc. Overall, mothers report being more satisfied with their birth experience when having a doula on board!
What do you love most about being a doula?
People tend to assume that I do this work because I love babies. Of course, I do love babies but I do it primarily for the love of mothers. It’s so rewarding to witness mothers having empowering and positive birth experiences and seeing how this then impacts on their relationships with their babies, partners and wider family.
Many families have questions about pregnancy, birth and parenting – what would you say are the top (3-5) and what advice do you give?
My top 3 tips – 1 – hire a doula (of course). If you’re struggling to afford one, remember that most of us offer payment plans and gift vouchers so that friends, family, colleagues can contribute to the cost. 2 – Do your research and get educated – don’t go into birth blindly. This is a massively important life event and your experience matters greatly; find the best birth place for you, do the antenatal class(es), do some reading, ask trusted friends/family about their experiences. 3- Plan for your postnatal period – gather your people around you, you weren’t meant to do this alone. Mommy burnout is a real thing!
What would you say that families should consider when looking for a doula?
Meet a few doulas, have some questions prepared beforehand, think what your priorities are (e.g. any cultural considerations, her experience, any specialisms she may have), have a look at her reviews/testimonials, go with your gut!
If clients wanted to learn more about you, where can they find you and how should they get in touch?
or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
If you’re thinking about hiring me (or any other doula), don’t leave it too late! We get booked up very quickly. The doula magic happens when we have a deep relationship with you and your partner (if applicable). A relationship that forms over the duration of your pregnancy. It’s important that we get to know you and what makes you tick so that we can serve you deeply during birth.
How incredible it has been to get a little insight into how Lorna works, she is amazing. If you want to join an amazing little support group for expectant mothers, see here: Bumps, Babies and Beyond – Isolation Support Network Midlands
You’ll also get to have some fantastic tips and suggestions to make your birth more manageable and also make new friends who are giving birth around the same times as you!
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