I’ve created this list of frequently asked questions based on the things potential clients ask me the most. If you can’t find your question listed here, please do contact me – I’ll answer and add it the list!
I’ve contacted you, what happens next? I respond to emails and messages promptly and generally suggest we have a phone chat and then arrange a meeting. This initial get together can be at your home or somewhere else. I’ll also happily Skype and Facetime too.
When should I book a doula? I generally take bookings for birth and postnatal work well in advance because building a relationship is so important to both me and expectant parents. Some clients decide on a doula very last minute and book literally weeks, sometimes days, before they are due. If I’m available we can arrange to meet and if not then I’m very happy to recommend alternative doulas.
Do you take a deposit? Yes, I do. The deposit secures your booking and can be discussed once you decide that you’d like me to be your doula.
My fee – a breakdown The article below gives a good idea of the things a doula must take into account when working out what to charge. From 2018 I am reducing the number of birth clients I take on.
Do you provide an agreement? Yes, there is one for birth and one for postnatal. They are not legal documents but simply outline the terms of my service and our commitment to one another.
Do you have a back-up in event of an emergency? I work closely with a number of very wonderful and trusted doulas. Where possible I’ll always ensure that one of them is free to back me up.
How can I benefit from a doula? The calming presence and unwavering support of a doula offers huge benefits in the antenatal period and during labour because the people around you have a significant impact on how you feel at what is an empowering yet vulnerable time. A doula cannot guarantee there won’t be twists and turns, but a combination of being well prepared and having a trusted and constant companion cannot be underestimated. I team up with your partner if you have one but do not replace them or the Midwife and do not perform any clinical duties.
Who does your support extend to? I offer my support as a doula to anyone, as long as we make a connection that leads to a positive, fruitful relationship, regardless of circumstances, gender, race or religion. My support is totally unbiased!
Do Doulas support Dads? Dads can benefit immensely from the nurturing and practical support of a doula. My goal is to help Dad to step into his role as a new father with greater confidence and able to support his partner. She can then be safe in the knowledge that the new baby is in equally good hands with either parent. As a doula, I’ll always stand back and respect a couple and their privacy. Having a doula doesn’t mean you’ll have a ‘gooseberry’ hanging around. I believe I’m good at reading people and situations and sometimes just being present in the wings is enough, and at other times my support is very hands on. This interesting article explains how the support from a doula can be so important and freeing for the father-to-be.
What does ‘On call’ actually mean? I go ‘On call’ for my birth clients at 38 weeks pregnant. For the client this means I am available 24/7 and they become my absolute priority. I stay within easy reach and do not travel or make big plans. For me this means always keeping an eye on my phone no matter what I am doing and having contingency plans for the postnatal clients I might be supporting at the time. Every single meeting and arrangment I make is followed by “Unless I’m at a Birth”. I aim to ensure that I am well rested and my doula bag is packed and in the car. Always ready to roll at any time of day or night! Sometimes, a client might prefer me to go on call earlier than 38 weeks; perhaps if there is a history of having babies early or if they are carrying multiples.
Where are you based and which areas do you cover? I live near Godalming in Surrey, and I also have bases in South West London and West London which enables me to offer support in a fairly wide area. I am happy to travel up to 45 minutes by car from either location. My postcodes are GU8 6AE, SW4 8AE
What are your skills and qualifications?
- I am pleased to be affiliated with Doula UK as a recognised birth and postnatal doula and as such abide by their rules and code of conduct
- I am a Doula Preparation Course facilitator for Developing Doulas
- I am a Mentor for new Doulas as they go through the recognition process with Doula UK
- I am on the MSLC for St Thomas’s Hospital in London
- I am proud to be the founding member of Surrey and Middlesex Doulas
- I am delighted to be supporting and part of The Positive Birth Movement
- I am a volunteer doula for the long established charity Hestia offering support to vulnerable, homeless woman in and around London
- I am fully insured through Arthur J. Gallagher
- I am a certified Breastfeeding Counsellor with the ABM
- I am a ‘Baby Wearing’ Peer Supporter certified through Born to Carry
- I attend regular CPD study days to ensure my ongoing learning and development as a doula
Do you have references? You can read my testimonials here, but I’m also very happy to put you in touch with past clients either by email or phone. Please just ask.
Is there anything else I should know? I’m fully insured and keep my baby and pediatric first aid knowledge up to date. You can read a full list of my qualifications and skills on the ‘About Doulabud’ page. I have copies of all my certificates on file if you would like to see them when we meet.
Do you support home and hospital births? I’m very happy to support clients wherever and however they choose to birth and have lots of experience in all birth settings. Childbirth is a very personal decision so I’ll happily help you look at all of your options. I thoroughly recommend the Which? birth choice website for an overview of the maternity care currently available:
Which hospitals do you know well? In Surrey and the surrounding area I am very familiar with: The Royal Surrey in Guildford, Frimley Park Hospital, Kingston Hospital, Ashford & St Peters Hospital in Chertsey, Epsom & St Helier Hospital, East Surrey Hospital and West Middlesex Hospital.
In London I have worked at: Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital, St Georges’s Hospital in Tooting, Kings College Hospital London and Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital in Hammersmith.
Do you suggest a particular length of time for postnatal support? No, again this will depend on your requirements. I realise it can be tricky to guesstimate what you might need before baby arrives, however I am used to fitting in and working around my clients – this is part of the role! As a general guide, I normally suggest four to six weeks (sometimes more for multiples), with the aim of decreasing the days and hours as we go along.
Do you help clients with breastfeeding? Yes, In November 2014 I started on a journey towards gaining an even deeper understanding of the many ways I could further support new mothers and their feeding choices. Wanting to add to both my knowledge and practical skills, I decided to train as a Breastfeeding Counsellor with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers. In February 2015 I became an ABM Mother Supporter and I am delighted to say I am now a certified Counsellor, which also involves working on the National Breastfeeding Helpline and the ABM Helpline. I’m not a lactation consultant but can refer you to a number of NHS and private choices, should you need that kind of one-to-one support in the postnatal phase. There is also free local and phone advice available from La Leche League, the National Breastfeeding Helpline, on which I volunteer, and the NCT Breastfeeding helpline on 0300 330 0771.
What does your abdominal massage involve? We start with a consultation either before birth or as soon after birth as possible. Any treatments normally start after the first seven days, when the initial ‘nesting period’ finishes. I suggest either two or three 30 minute massages each week for the first month, with each session lasting around two hours. I also help to show new mums how to use the techniques herself. My approach is to make this massage a time of ritual: calm, peaceful and nurturing.
I can also offer a 30 minute neck, back and shoulder massage to relieve tension and aid relaxation for a new mama. This can be added into any postnatal visit if so desired. I am not a massage therapist but have very good hands and lots of experience!
The Rewind Technique