The UK’s largest network of experienced birth companions says it is vital that expectant parents are fully aware of the options available to them during childbirth – and has welcomed attempts to keep maternity-related issues in the spotlight.
The call from Doula UK comes after the Channel 4 documentary One Born Every Minute featured its first doula-supported birth.
Doula UK said the programme now, in its third series, has helped draw attention to important birth-related issues. Bridget Baker, Spokesperson and Head of Mentoring at Doula UK, said: “It was fantastic to see a doula-supported birth on One Born Every Minute.
“In many of the births shown during the series, the women rarely leave the bed, however with a doula’s support this mum was encouraged to move around and to use a birthing ball – making for a more comfortable natural birth.
“Many parents are left feeling anxious about going into labour after watching how childbirth is often portrayed on TV, so it was refreshing to see how a doula can work with parents and midwives as part of the team, to help achieve a positive birth experience.”
The episode has reinforced the findings of a recent survey, which highlighted the benefits that doulas can offer to women and their families.
The survey, which looked at the births of 1,106 doula clients, focused on a range of critical birth-related areas including intervention rates and breastfeeding. Of the doula-supported births only 12 per cent required medical interventions, such as the use of forceps, ventouse or Caesarean sections, compared to the latest national figures of 37.3 per cent.
Meanwhile, 93 per cent of the women supported by a doula attempted breastfeeding and 70 per cent were still exclusively breastfeeding after six weeks – these figures are significantly higher than the latest national figures, which show only 74.1 per cent of new mums attempt breastfeeding, and just 47 per cent are still exclusively breastfeeding at six weeks.
Bridget added: “The results of the survey and the footage shown during this week’s One Born Every Minute demonstrate some of the ways doulas can help to enhance the experience of childbirth.”
Doulas have also been thrown in the spotlight recently after Mad Man and X Men star January Jones gave public support to doulas last week following the support she received from her doula during her first pregnancy last year.
To find out more about Doula UK and its network of doulas visit www.doula.org.uk