Everything You Need To Know About Doulas

Everything You Need To Know About Doulas

“If doulas were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it”- Dr. John H. Kennel

A doula provides non-medical continuous physical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period to you and your partner to help you achieve the most satisfying experience possible.

What does a doula do?

It varies from doula to doula based on their experience and other qualifications. Some are only “birth doulas”, that is, they offer prenatal care, attend births and may provide support up to 6 weeks post birth. Whereas “postpartum doulas” offer support for the first year after birth.

Birth Doulas Support:

A birth doula provides the continuity of care that most hospitals are unable to provide. They usually meet with you several times before your baby’s estimated due date to build rapport and establish trust. These meetings are an opportunity to discuss your birth wishes, previous births, fears, ask questions and receive guidance on writing your Birth Preferences.

Physical Support

A birth doulas is usually on- call 24 hours a day for 2 weeks before and for 2 weeks after your baby’s estimated due date. 

When you go into labour, they’ll help you decide whether or not you’re in established labour and if it’s best to stay home or go to the hospital.

Your birth doula won’t usually arrive in your home or at the hospital until you’re in established labour.

Whether you’re having a homebirth or hospital birth with a midwife or an obstetrician, a doula will be a constant presence during your labour and birth. She’ll ensure that you feel private, safe and unobserved so that your body produces endorphins- Nature’s pain relief.

She may offer natural pain management techniques, remind you to rest between surges to avoid exhaustion and offer suggestions for positioning to make you more comfortable and to help your labour progress.

If you and your partner have done Hypnobirthing, she may prompt your partner to read you affirmations and visualisations, read self- hypnosis scripts to help you relax, use anchor touch or light touch massage or remind him to use acupressure points.

After you deliver your baby, she’ll encourage you to have skin to skin with your baby, sit upright and breastfeed to deliver your placenta naturally (without syntocinon).

If for any reason you can’t have skin to skin with your baby after birth, she’ll support your birth partner in doing so.

Emotional Support

Doulas provide emotional support to you and your partner during labour and birth. They’ll offer reassurance and encourage you to help you feel safe and empowered.

Birth Advocate

Doulas will act as your advocate by communicating your Birth Preferences to your Care Providers and may translate medical terminology for you. If a situation arises where you need to make a decision, she may speak with your Care Providers on your behalf (so you can stay calm and relaxed) and ask for more time or what your options are (if you and your baby aren’t in danger) so you can make informed decisions and have your birthing preferences honoured.

Postnatal/ Postpartum Doula Support:

After birth your doula will usually leave you and your partner to spend time getting to know your baby. She’ll usually come and visit you within a week after birth to debrief your birth and answer any questions. This may be the only postnatal visit for a birth doula.

Much like birth doula’s, the services that Postnatal Doula’s provide depends on their experience and background and other qualifications.

Prior to your baby’s arrival, your postnatal doula may meet with you and your partner prior to birth to help you:

  • Create Your Postpartum Vision: your postnatal doula will help you prepare for a positive postpartum. She may help you clarify what a positive postpartum means to you, identify your fears and help you to release them.
  • Build Your Village: your postnatal doula may help you build your village by helping you identify where you can get physical and emotional support, help you find free support or where you may need to pay for support.
  • Create Your Sanctuary: your postnatal doula may help you to decide where in your house it will be best to bunker down with your baby in the first 6 weeks after birth, how to make it comfortable and practical for you and your baby.
  • Prepare To Eat Good Food: your postnatal doula may help you meal plan, stock your pantry, fill your freezer and set up a meal train to ensure you nourish and heal yourself with good food in the first 6 weeks after birth.

After your baby arrives, they may provide support for the first 6 weeks up to the first year after birth and support may include face to face visits, phone and text support or zoom calls.

Emotional Support

Your postnatal doula will bridge the gaps and become anything you need… whether it be your confidant, your best friend or your cheerleader. They’ll offer an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on as you talk about the joys and challenges of mamahood.

Your postnatal doula may offer a weekly or monthly Mother’s Circle either face to face to virtually to meet other mothers and receive support.

Your postnatal doula may facilitate a private facebook group for you to connect with other mothers, ask questions and receive support.

Physical Support

During a face to face visit, your postnatal doula may cook you a meal or do light housework such as changing your sheets, washing the dishes or folding your laundry. Or they may hold your baby while you shower, enjoy a hot cup of tea, have a nap or go for a walk to get some fresh air.

They may also provide resources on newborn care and breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

Do I need a Doula?

Support is one of the key ingredients for a positive birth and postpartum. This support may be in the form of a birth partner and caregivers that support your preferences. The problem with our current model of care, is that it doesn’t offer continuity of care. For example, if you choose a Public Hospital then you may see a different midwife at every prenatal visit and have a number of different midwives attend your birth. Postnatally, a midwife may visit your home (depending on which model of care you’ve chosen) in the first 6 weeks after birth to provide baby care but this system is not a mother- centric model.

A doula’s main role is to care for the mother.

How Do I Find A Doula?

For Birth Doulas, The Australian Doula College has a Doula Directory. If you have an idea of the kind of doula you’re looking for, give them a call and ask them if they can recommend someone who matches your criteria.

For Postpartum Doulas, Newborn Mothers Directory is a great place to start.

Once you have a shortlist, arrange to meet with them for an informal tea and chat and ask them any questions. The most important thing is that you both feel comfortable with one another and you both think you’re a good fit.

If you’re a tired, pregnant mama, get your free 20 minute Yoga Nidra to take you from exhausted to energised HERE. Fill in your details and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

Create a Feeding Sanctuary With These

Create a Feeding Sanctuary With These

Have you spent hours on Pinterest designing your baby’s nursery, choosing a pram and buying cute little baby outfits? Have you given much thought to creating a feeding sanctuary? A place where you can retreat to with your baby. A place where you’ll feed, rock and cuddle your baby, read, eat, watch netflix and perhaps fall asleep too.  

Here’s a few things you can use to design your Feeding Sanctuary:


In the early days, you’ll spend a lot of time feeding and settling so make sure you have a comfy chair in your Feeding Sanctuary.

I love my Ollie Ella Mo- Ma Glider with the ottoman that glides in synch and the lumbar pillow to support your lower back. It takes the effort out of rocking your baby to sleep.

A feeding chair is a good investment as you can use it for subsequent children, as a reading chair or sell it on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace (they have really good resale value). 

Create your Feeding Sanctuary where you think you’ll spend most of your time with your baby. Maybe in the nursery, your bedroom or in the living room. 

Breastfeeding Sanctuary

Source: Kiddie Country


Put a small table (a bedside table will do) in your Feeding Sanctuary so it’s in easy reach of your chair in for your snacks, drinks and other essentials.


Use a lamp in your Feeding Sanctuary with a low voltage globe or one with a dimmer instead of turning on the room light in the middle of the night. Blue light (light emitted from screens, fluorescent bulbs and LED lights) can make you and your baby more alert so you’ll both struggle falling back to sleep after an early morning feed). I love my Himalayan salt lamp which gives off a beautiful orange glow. 


Keep a water bottle on your side table in your Feeding Sanctuary so it’s in easy reach and top it up before each feed. 

Breastfeeding can cause dehydration so drink more than the standard 8- 10 glasses of water to make up for what your body uses in producing milk. Staying well hydrated increases your energy, reduces hunger, promotes digestion and boosts your milk supply.

Herbal Tea is also very hydrating. A warm cup of tea is like a hug in a mug. It boosts oxytocin and makes you feel warm, loved and cared for. This “breastfeeding tea” by LOVE TEA helps with milk supply and digestion (for you and your baby). Don’t let your tea go cold (which is easy to do as a new mama) drink it in an insulated reusable cup with a lid to keep it nice and hot. 


Keep some snacks on your side table in your Feeding Sanctuary so they’re in easy reach.

Instead of counting your calories, use your hunger as a guide. Breastfeeding works up an appetite and can make you ravenous. Whilst it’s tempting to grab a packet of Tim Tams or a block of chocolate, they won’t leave you feeling satiated. Instead, stock up on snacks that are nourishing and will keep you fuller for longer like nuts and seeds, fruit, cheese, yoghurt and bliss balls.

Include a plan for snacks in your Postpartum Plan. Things like bliss balls, banana bread and slices can be frozen ahead of time so you can make them on maternity leave or allocate to friends or family that feel at home in the kitchen. Do some research to find some recipes you like and share them. My Apple and Cinnamon Lactation Bliss Balls are yummy.

Otherwise, ask friends and family to make you snacks instead of buying you a baby gift. Or put your visitors to work when they stop by so you can get some rest and enjoy the fruits of their labour later on.

Lactation Bliss Ball Cookies


The days may seem long and the nights even longer when you’re feeding your baby so you may like some entertainment in your Feeding Sanctuary.

KINDLE: Load it up while you’re on maternity leave. Some books that I really enjoyed are The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali, Happy Mama by Amy Taylor- Kabbaz, Mindfulness for Mothers by Rebecca Ryan and SLOW by Brooke McAlary. Keep away from all the dreaded baby books- they’ll just mess with your head. Hard copy books can be a little awkward when you’re trying to juggle a newborn so audiobooks are a good option.

PODCASTS: Some of my favourites are The Goop Podcast with Gwyneth Paltrow, The Motherly Podcast, The Motherkind Podcast, Newborn Mothers Podcast with Julia Jones, The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke and Ben McAlary and the Happy Mama Movement by Amy Taylor- Kabbaz. Use the Podcasts App on your phone and search for topics that you’re interested in. 

NETFLIX: Add the shows you’d like to watch to “your channel”. Use your headphones so  it doesn’t overstimulate your baby and mess with their sleep. When choosing movies or series, go for romcoms. Research suggests they’ll give you an oxytocin boost. 


Keep your headphones in a drawer, a basket or on your side table so they’re in arms reach in your Feeding Sanctuary. Use them to listen to podcasts, music, chat to friends or watch Netflix. Iphone headphones are easy to get all tangled up when you’re juggling your baby and your cuppa so invest in some wireless ones.


No doubt you’ll be using your phone a lot for taking baby photos and texting friends and family, so keep your charger plugged in close to your feeding chair in your Feeding Sanctuary. Don’t get stuck under your sleeping baby with a dying battery not able to move.

Are you pregnant? Get your free Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra). Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions in the COMMENTS below.