Nurturing Birth & Beyond
Knocking on Evans door
What is a Doula?
A Doula is a professional who is trained in childbirth. She will provide you and your birthing partner with continuous emotional, physical and educational support during pregnancy, labour, birth and after birth. The purpose of a Doula is to comfort a mother and help her to achieve an empowering birth experience which is both memorable and safe. A Doula is NOT a medical professional. Doulas work alongside Midwives, Doctors and Nurses during labour and birth. Doulas do not get in the way of medical professionals and do not make any decisions, especially NOT medical decisions on behalf of the birthing mother or her partner. A Doula serves only to educate and support the mother in her choices. A Doula is as important at a Vaginal Birth as she is at a Caesarian Birth because she provides continuous support during a time when medical staff are moving in and out of the birthing room between patients. Whichever way your baby arrives in this world, you can make choices about the greeting you wish to set up for your little one. Your Doula is trained to help you meet those goals under various circumstances and in the often chaotic environment of the birthing room. Should the original birth plan be deviated from due to unforeseen circumstances, your Doula will help you to smoothly transition to your Plan B (which she will encourage you to set up during your pregnancy).
Why do you need a Doula?
In order to qualify as a WOMBS Doula she has been present at many different births and this prepares her for situations which occur during labour, in the birthing room and after the baby is born. She has information from other experienced professionals at her fingertips. She maintains a cool head to help you keep to your birth plan when you are concentrating on your body’s needs. She will guide you through the steps of labour and birth and constantly reassure you when you feel like you can’t go on. This support is invaluable to a birthing mother. A Doula is there to serve your needs, so asking her to pop out to get something, or to take some photographs or massage your back, or give your birthing companion/partner a break for a while, is all part of the service. The very word ‘Doula’ is a Greek word meaning ‘servant’. Many birthing mothers mistakenly believe that they don’t need a Doula if their birthing companion/partner is there with them or if they are having a planned Caesarean Birth. Most often it is the partner who gets an enormous amount of encouragement from the Doula to be as much a part of the birth as possible. Doulas are NOT a replacement for a birthing partner or the baby’s other parent. The Doula is there to work, keep the mother’s interests at heart and guide the birthing partner in the steps from labour to birth. A birthing mother is guided by her body’s amazing capacity for childbirth. She is playing nature’s game. Her partner is often sitting by helplessly watching and wishing there were more they could do, wishing there was someone there to guide them. Classes prepare a partner for childbirth in theory, where a Doula gently leads the partner through the reality of the game and reminds him or her of the little tricks that will end in a grand finale. When you can have such a treasure at your birth, why would you deny it?
Having a Doula present at birth has been proven to reduce the amount of medication required by mothers during labour, shorten labours and reduce the rate of Caesarean Births. The report by Hodnett (2012) and the Cochrane Report reiterate the benefits of any continuous emotional support during labour and birth. However the knowledge, training and expertise of a trained Doula will reduce the stress of both the birthing mother and her companion, this, in turn, is associated with a greater likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth and a lower likelihood of a Caesarean birth.
Sometimes even the most carefully planned births end up in the operating theatre. Your Doula is well trained in the procedures and will explain what’s happening during such a situation and help you to transition to Plan B, or C and strive to ensure that baby can still be welcomed according to your wishes as closely as possible to the original plan. It is suggested that you build up a relationship with your Doula before the birth of your baby so that you (and your birth partner) can relax during the birth of your baby, confident in her ability to lead you though your labour of love. Interview more than one Doula to find the right fit. Once you’ve decided on your Doula, ask her to introduce you to her ‘back-up Doula’ who will take her place if she is at another birth or ill at the time you need her. Doulas always arrange a backup, but you are welcome to choose your own ‘back-up Doula’ should you like to. You can find a list of WOMBS Doulas on the website by clicking here.
All your needs in one place
Historically women have assisted women who are giving birth and this assistance usually involved continuous physical and emotional support (Oakly 1984, Odent 2009). Nurturing Birth and Beyond is a practice aimed at assisting expectant mothers, new mothers and those of you who’ve been down this road before, in achieving their goals for the motherhood they envision. Our philosophy is that you set the standard of your motherhood and you decide which path you would want to walk. We don’t encourage mothers to compare their birth experiences with other mothers’ experiences and we don’t encourage mothers to compare their mothering skills with other mothers’ skills. Rather learn from others and then walk your own road wearing your own shoes into motherhood and beyond. Everyone does their best with what they are given. We do our best to help you get where you are going. Below you will see a list of the services we offer. If we don’t personally offer you a service that you require, we can put you in touch with someone who does. We will never hold back a recommendation for fear of losing a fee. However, your feedback is of extreme importance to us. If you ever receive a recommendation from us which is not up to standard, please tell us, so that we can look into it. If we are giving you advice that doesn’t meet your standards or is of poor quality, please tell us. Nobody benefits from silence, especially not the babies. This service is rolled on to charity centers on a pro-bono basis and our needy mothers have no recourse if they get poor advice, so everything needs to be spot on. Your feedback is vital. Thank you in advance.
About Doula sharon
I am a mother of three and have always been very passionate about all things mother and baby. It was this passion which prompted me to inquire about training as a Doula and in August 2018, I completed my training with Irene Bourquin of WOMBS (Women Offering Mothers Birth Support), an organisation encouraging Doula support at every birth scenario.
In April 2004 I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Psychology and in addition to being a Professional Birth Doula, I am also a Professional Postpartum Doula and qualified to support a new mother after the birth of her baby for the first year. I am passionate about women’s rights and in particular the rights of a birthing mother. It is my intention to persuade the South African Health Department to open a Midwife-Led Obstetrics Unit in Stellenbosch which will make the birth of a baby part of daily life as opposed to a hospital event.
I felt so excited and happy about my first born which I had Sharon beside me to support and comfort me during labour.
I felt complete to finally hold my baby on my arms and Sharon was there all the way she was the one who took our picture with my baby.
She helped me how to learn to hold the breast when breastfeeding my baby since it was my first time to breastfeed.
She also brought me a gift which consists of pads, a baby crocheted towel, soap, a bath towel for the baby, a crocheted hat for baby.
You were very helpful that day I Will never forget. I will recommend it to other new mothers
Services currently offered
Two meetings prenatal
Meeting the medical practitioner
Emotional, physical and educational support during pregnancy, labour and birth
Continuous birth support from labour to the golden hour after birth
Prenatal shopping companion
Breastfeeding advice (kindly note that a Doula is not necessarily a Lactation Specialist, but we can refer you for any problems we are not able to solve).
Baby Bath and Massage
Caring for the mother
A Postpartum Doula is specially trained in the care of a newborn so that you can feel safe that your infant is being taken proper care of and that if you need to learn a skill, such as bathing or baby massage, you have the right person for the job. Your specific needs are discussed at the initial meeting.
Breast Feeding Support Group
Meetings once per week at an agreed location with a group in Somerset West. A group in Stellenbosch will be started only once there is enough demand. So if you have an enquiry, please complete the form below and we will get back to you. If you have a suggestion for a group in another area, please complete the contact form below with your ideas and someone will get back to you. If you need urgent assistance with breastfeeding and your Doula is not able to help you, you can contact La Leche League by clicking HERE
If you or your loved ones suspect that you may be suffering from postpartum depression, please join our support group. We meet once a week and have discussions on how to help one another. We form buddy systems so that there’s always someone to call when you feel helpless and alone. Motherhood is not an easy job and our hormones play an enormous part in how we feel every day as does the impact of our family lives and life in general. Come and tell us how you’re feeling, share your coping mechanisms (if you have any) with the rest of us. Let’s help one another to reduce postpartum depression. We’ll explain some of the strategies we know of and give you a few tips, but generally you’ll make friends which always makes a situation that little bit easier to deal with. We’ll meet at baby friendly venues where you can breastfeed without being concerned that anyone will give you the stink eye! Whether someone makes a difference in your life or you make a difference in someone else’s life, the hormone release you’ll feel will go a long way to making you feel better.