Here you'll find the answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about having a doula, our hypnobirthing course and birth photography. If you have any other questions, worries or comments, don't hesistate to contact us.
If I am expecting a straightforward birth what benefits would a doula bring?
In early labour the mental challenge can be strong: if you are having a hospital birth the expectation is that you will stay at home until you are in active labour. If you are having a home birth, the midwives tend to pop in and out but remain with you from active labour. The dedication to focus can be difficult in the early stages of labour when you are wondering how much longer it will take and whether you really are in labour. Having us as your doulas to support you in these early stages can help you remain focused so that you can manage and avoid multiple trips to and from the hospital or prevent the disappointment of a midwife coming to see you and then leaving you trying to focus alone again.
What can a doula do that my partner or midwife can’t?
We can provide the continuity of care that an NHS system generally cannot. We will spend time getting to know you over the course of your pregnancy and will take the time to learn your innermost wishes for your birth and pregnancy. We will help to facilitate this from the moment you choose us, attending appointments with you should you require or simply being there when needed.
During labour the expectation is that you will spend the majority of time at home with just your birth partner. You will be sent home from the hospital if labour is not as established as they require, or if having a home birth, the midwives will pop in and out but only remain once labour is active. We will be with you from whenever you need. Even if this means we are sleeping while you sleep, we can be there. This allows any other birth partners to take some time out if necessary and feel supported too.
Many birth partners feel that we have been a support for them in an often-intense situation, helping them make decisions, providing emotional care, and simply feeling that they are not taking the bulk of the responsibility.
I don’t have time to read lots, can you help me be informed of my choices?
Absolutely, we consider it a part of our job to remain up to date with current research, advice and guidelines. We can help you to make informed choices, point out exactly where to look should you need further information and suggest alternative ways of obtaining knowledge through experiences such as listening to podcasts. We do not tell you what to do but can help you to make your own choices through talking and informing.
What if I change my mind and don’t want you at my birth?
Everything is always your choice. Our aim is to support you to have the birth experience that you want. If you change your mind about anything, we will support that.
I’m anxious and shy. How will you meet my needs and not overpower me?
We have experience of working with many different types of personality. We feel that we work in an intuitive way and know what our clients need. We always meet prospective clients for a chat before they commit to our doula service. At this appointment we hope to get some idea of your personality and requirements. We also spend a lot of time getting to know you over the course of your pregnancy. If however you do feel that we are approaching you in a way that doesn’t feel comfortable we are very happy to learn from you and appreciate honesty rather than taking it as criticism or taking offence.
The benefit of working with us in this situation is that we can create a metaphorical barrier between you and the midwife team should you need it during labour.
What do you actually do as a doula?
Anything you need! We are there to support you. We can help you feel informed and empowered. We can be your spokesperson during pregnancy should you require and during birth itself. We can be your companion and accompany you to meetings and appointments. We can join you on your journey to the hospital.
During labour we can help you physically with massage, changing position and encouraging you to be active if it is desirable. We can help you to use the resources that you have such as essential oils, homeopathic remedies, a tens machine, a birthing ball and the birthing pool - including the setting up. We can cook you food or help you with snacks. We will encourage you to drink and make sure you have an easily available drink at all times. Through previous experience we have an intuition with regards to whether rest or activity would be beneficial, when to call the midwives/go to hospital and can help you to make a decision in the moment. Knowing the mental demands of labour, we are hugely encouraging and will be your cheerleader helping you to achieve the birth you are hoping for.
Should you find yourself in an emergency situation we can accompany you in an ambulance or be there in the hospital to hold your baby or your birth partner’s hand whilst you cannot.
After birth we make sure your house is back to how it was prior to birth - tidying, washing up, putting on the washing machine for example - and then help you to get comfortable. After a hospital birth we can help you to have a shower if you wish and we can make your bed, not leaving before you are comfortable. In either situation we will help you with the early stages of baby care, provide breastfeeding support, ensure you have an adequate amount of skin to skin time with your baby and get you food post birth.
What if it doesn’t work? Will I have wasted my money?
As far as we can see, the fear that it will not work is the only reason that people would not want to take the hypnobirthing course. The hypnobirthing course is about being in control and preparing for the birth of your baby in the best way possible. Yes, many of our clients choose to take the course because they do not want to take pain relief drugs, or they do not want any medical intervention. However many of our couples just want to be as prepared as possible. Most couples that we work with have births requiring no medical intervention and pain relief, however some have had a little intervention. In these cases the couples have said they are so glad they did the course as it allowed them to remain calm, relaxed and in control whilst there was a lot happening around them.
I don’t believe it will work for me
Think about what you want to achieve. Are you looking for an orgasmic birth or do you want a birth in which you are prepared, calm completely in control and empowered? We cannot guarantee a feeling free birth, but we can guarantee that you will feel calm, in control and totally prepared – sometimes euphoric! The hypnobirthing course is as much about birth preparation – containing a huge amount of physiological knowledge – as it is about pain reduction. Treat it like you would any antenatal course, but know that this course is in a comfortable environment, with personal care, so you can ask any questions you want without feeling silly. We find that many of our clients ask us questions that they didn’t feel comfortable asking in the less intimate environment of other antenatal classes. We have the expertise on board to answer any questions for you.
I don’t understand how it will help me
Firstly, you will gain a vast amount of physiological birthing knowledge from the course. The programme was written by experienced people that have worked with labouring women and experienced hypnotists. It is therefore important information that all pregnant couples should be aware of but are often not. Secondly the course will teach you how to use hypnosis to have a full mind/body connection. This does not mean you will have to be in a state of hypnosis when giving birth but it means you will be able to remain in the natural, optimum state of mind for birth, resulting in a quicker delivery and more manageable experience. Did you know when in fear, or stressed, the body automatically goes into the fight or flight response? When in this response labour stops or slows. This can be seen with animals in the wild. If they sense a predator their labour will stop until it is safe again. We teach you how to take back control of your body so that your body does not kick into this automatic response. Babies born using hypnosis tend to be calmer, feed better, sleep better and experience less trauma, because they are, often, gently and calmly breathed into the world at their own pace. Scientific research has also shown that the babies usually have higher Apgar scores (a measure of how well your baby is doing immediately after the birth, and then five minutes later).
I don’t want to be out of control
This is the exact reason you should take our course. People often think that those in a hypnotic state are out of control, or maybe under the control of the hypnotist. This is as far from the truth as possible. When in hypnosis you are very much in control. The hypnobirthing course is about taking back control. Imagine lying on the beach with the sun shining down on you, not too hot, not too cold, with the sound of waves lapping in the distance. This is hypnosis!
What if I want pain relief?
This is ok, the hypnobirthing course is all about having the birth YOU want and not the birth others tell you to have. If you want pain relief you can have pain relief, but you will be safe in the knowledge that you have made the decision whilst in control and therefore will not regret your decision later. You will probably find that you will have no need for pain relief anyway, but there are not restrictions on anything you may choose to do.
I had a C-Section last time, can I still do the course?
Of course. The course is designed more towards a natural birth and we have had many successful VBAC deliveries. If you are having a caesarean again, there are still many things in the course that would benefit you. It is worth just mentioning to your hypnotherapist that you are a VBAC mum or if you will be having a caesarean again so that the course can be personalised towards you a little more.
Is the course just for the Mum?
No. Our course is designed for the birthing Mum and her birth partner. Often the birth partner is the father of the baby, but many have a friend, parent or doula. Certain parts of the course require practise at home. This practise creates intimate time between you as a couple and many of our clients have remarked that this is their favourite part of the course. The course enables your birthing partner to become a central part of the birthing process, helping you to stay calm and focus on techniques that you have been taught. This can be even more important if the birthing partner is not the father of the baby as they can feel even more removed from the whole process and ‘useless’. Imagine how close they can feel to you and the baby being an active part of the birthing process.
However, we have also worked with many mums on their own and this is ok too. There are ways to do the practical aspects of the course without a companion and you will achieve the same results.
Who should take the hypnobirthing course?
EVERYONE! We cannot think of anyone that would not benefit from taking the hypnobirthing course. It is educational, informative, enjoyable and achieves great results.
Why would I want to have my birth photographed?
Capturing the power, the love and the first precious moments with your new baby are something that cannot be replicated. Those little moments that can easily be forgotten after the excitement of the day can be treasured for a lifetime. The first time your baby opens their eyes, the gentle massage from a loved one, the little pieces that build the story of your birth. The benefit of getting to know you before the day is finding out what you really want to have captured and working with you to build the visual story of that very special day. Only you know if this is a service that is right for you and your birth.
I’m a shy and private person, won’t it feel intrusive?
As with the doula service, I will come and get to know you prior to birth, to build a rapport, helping you to feel at ease with my presence when the day arrives. I will be contactable for any concerns or wishes you wish to discuss about the photography up til birth, so we can work together to capture the images you will treasure. My end goal is always to blend in or cheerlead and for you to feel totally at ease with my presence. Photography can be included as part of the package of doula care, or standalone and as such either can be added up till birth if you feel it would be beneficial.
If my birth isn’t straightforward what happens?
We will work together before the birth, forming a clear idea of what it is you would and would not wish to have captured, so it isn’t something you need to focus on during the birth. That means I will know what you would like to happen if the birth changes. If for whatever reason photography is no longer permitted due to this change, I will endeavour to be there as soon as appropriate for photography.
How is this different than my partner taking photos?
Giving birth is a huge life experience for you; it is also such an important experience for your birth partner. My services mean you can both be present and focused on the birth and the baby, and not on shutter speed and memory card space! Both of you can be included in the images, and the moments of you both first meeting your new arrival will be images to treasure. Any editing and ordering of prints is also down to me, whilst you get to know your new baby, and find your feet in this new journey.
What if I change my mind?
Pregnancy and birth can be a time of lots of change, and its perfectly normal to decide something no longer feels like the right direction for you in regards to your birth journey. This is totally fine, I am not here to make a decision for you or force you in direction that doesn’t feel right. If before or during birth you decide this is something you no longer require, then I am understanding. A non-refundable deposit is required to secure your booking; if you do decide to cancel, the remainder of the fee isn’t payable.