“As a doula, I get to work at the visceral coalface of birth. Doulas are there the longest time. We give the greatest continuity of care over any other caregiver. We provide information and we are the best pain relief support. We empower couples to advocate for themselves, and support them in getting what they want,”
Nadine Richardson internationally renowned yoga teacher, doula of 15 years and creator of She Births®.
Despite a very busy life juggling the She Births® business, Nadine still makes time to work as a doula for the insight and love this very special vocation brings in to her life.
“I’m still a doula because there is always more to learn about birth and there is always beauty to be created at every birth, which is so important,” says Nadine.
“Being a doula also calls me to be creative in my skills with support, pain relief, fostering a connection between a couple and helping create a positive mindset. Every birth and every couple is different and through my work as a doula, I am always finding new ways to facilitate that.”
Doulas are the most evidence-based tool in the birthing room
Countless studies have proven over the last 20 years that using a doula helps increase maternal satisfaction, reduce the chance of c-section and improve the overall birth experience.
“Nothing works better than the doula. After mum, of course!” says Nadine. “There’s been so many studies and two Cochrane Reviews (2017 and 2019) showing the importance of labour companionship that the 12 steps for MotherBaby Care initiative with The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics ( FIGO) recommend doulas for all births. Private health insurers in Ireland and America are starting to rebate for doulas and some hospitals in America even give them for free.”
Doulas connect us to the ancient ways and the wisdom of birth
You only have to look at ancient drawings that depict labour to know that women were always supported by other women during their birth. And according to Nadine, among all those scenes is the doula figure, who was there to assist the baby and mother into feeling safe and supported.
“Our bodies and minds are programmed to have a doula there supporting us. It is so ancient that the subconscious is actually expecting and often looking for that doula archetype when we go into labour and arrive at the hospital. Women begin reaching out and certainly regretting that they didn’t employ one when the tricky business of trusting birth begins,” says Nadine.
“If we remove doula’s from the birth setting our subconscious is ultimately being taken to a place where birth just feels unsafe. Craving a doula figure is natural.”
Doulas help partners provide better support
First-time dads or partners who have never attended a birth (the majority), or may have not completed any birth education can feel incredibly overwhelmed in the birthing space.
“In this type of context, what can we really ask of them in the birthing suite,” says Nadine. “Doulas don’t block a partners role, we facilitate better understanding for them and ability to support and connect.”
“I love watching couples fall in love during birth. Being able to look in awe at their wife going through birth. But they can only really do that if they don’t feel stressed and better understand what is going on. A doula helps facilitate that love.”
Other cool facts about doulas
- 60% of She Births® couples use a doula during birth.
- Doulas dramatically reduce the chance of c-section delivery.
- Duchess Meghan of Sussex is reportedly using a doula very soon!
- Post-birth doulas help with breastfeeding, birth trauma and juggling home life.
NB: They’ll also make you a mean cup of tea!
We have four doula’s in our team of Certified Educators and we have a full list of our She Births® Approved Doulas available to all parents on our App.
Caitlin Siboulet, Inner West/Illawarra Region/Eastern Suburbs
Nadine O’Mara, Northern Beaches
Radha Vine, Northern Beaches
Nichola Kinnane, Newcastle