A guide to choosing a doula in Singapore
A doula is highly trained in making your birth experience as comfortable and memorable as possible. Find out more about doulas in this article, including what they do and where you can find one in Singapore.
Giving birth is an experience that is made up of myriad emotions — anxiety, joy, elation, exhilaration, sometimes even fear. And mothers in labour need someone by their side to support them as they ride these various emotions through the birthing process.
“Support the birthing process” is exactly what a doula does.
If you are considering having a doula in Singapore by your side for your baby’s birth, then this article is especially for you. You’ll find out about having a doula in Singapore, who they are, what they do and how you can contact one if needed.
Who is a doula?
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek and means “a woman who serves”. Now, it is used to refer to a trained professional highly experienced in all things related to natural birthing.
A doula “provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period,” according to DONA International (Doulas of North America).
Angelyn Seet — Director at ParentLink Singapore — explains that even though a doula’s role is one of support for the mum, she does not replace the partner’s role. Instead, a doula will work together with him to help support the mother in labour.
A doula also does not replace your obstetrician or the labour-room nurses. On the contrary, she works with them to support the labouring mum, explains Angelyn.
Advantages of having a doula in Singapore
Studies have shown that with a doula in attendance during birth:
- 25% of women have shorter labour
- a 50% reduction in the caesarian rate can be expected
- there is a 60% reduction in epidural requests, and
- 40% reduction in forceps delivery, oxytocin and analgesia use
Here are four ways a doula in Singapore can help you with pregnancy, labour and birth:
1. They motivate the mum and help with pain management
A doula will use comfort measures such as massage, counter pressure and hip squeeze during labour to make the experience as comfortable as possible for the mum, explains Angelyn.
Doulas also help with optimal positioning of the baby by suggesting certain types of exercises or stretches. They support an active labour and birth like walking, swaying on a birth ball or using the shower in the hospital.
Furthermore, doulas verbally reassure and motivate the labouring mothers to trust the wisdom of their bodies and to trust in the natural process of birth, says Angelyn.
2. They support both the mum and her partner
You can rest assured that there will be plenty of support not just for you, but also for your partner from your doula.
As Angelyn explains, “we work together with the fathers or loved ones to provide additional support and encouragement. It is very useful to have an extra pair of hands during labour.”
Doulas can also assist with remembering important information from midwife or doctor appointments, they can help out if mum needs a back rub or massage, and in general, take away some of the stress the partner may be feeling.
What all this does is allow the partner to be fully present and involved in the whole birthing experience.
3. They de-mystify pregnancy and birth terminology
Doulas comes with a wealth of experience related to pregnancy and birth and are more than happy to share this with you.
And while they will work closely with you to explain terms and processes related to pregnancy and birth that you may not understand, they will not interfere with the role of the obstetrician or nurses.
Instead, they facilitate communication between you, your partner and medical providers — in essence, complementing the medical care you receive.
4. You can count on them to be there for you on D-Day
While a doula will be there for you throughout your pregnancy, without a doubt she will be present during labour and birth too. Typically, a doula is ‘on-call’ from 36 to 42 weeks of pregnancy, which is when most women given birth.
She will be with you at home as you start labour and will accompany you to the hospital for the birth, too. Do note that while you can discuss medical options and risks with your doula, she will not take any medical decisions on your behalf.
Choosing a doula in Singapore
Your doula will be with you during and in the lead-up to one of the most intimate, important and memorable moments of your life — the birth of your baby.
Remember to check her qualifications/ certification and if she is registered with a professional body, and look for one who will fit your needs.
One way of doing this is to ask plenty of questions prior to going ahead with a particular doula.
Questions to ask
- Do you offer any other services, like breastfeeding support, pregnancy and childbirth classes?
- What are your fees?
- How would you handle a doctor or nurse who is not happy working with you?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- How many births have you attended and in which hospitals?
- If you can’t make it for some reason on the day of delivery, will you send a replacement/backup? Will I get to meet her in advance?
- If I have to have an emergency C-section, what is your policy?
- What are some of the techniques you use to help ease labour and birth?
- How many pre- and postnatal home visits are included in the service?
Don’t forget to also check carefully and well in advance with your partner before going ahead with employing a doula, as some may feel uneasy that their role will be replaced, or with the fact that a third person will be in the labour room.
You could also ask other mums via online mum support groups for their own recommendations. Remember to also discuss medications during delivery, breastfeeding, and the type of care provider you plan to use for your birth.
You should also ask for references from other clients.
Finding a Doula in Singapore
They have the largest team of independent doulas in Singapore, and have been around since 1998. ParentLink doulas are well-known in Singapore’s pregnancy and birth circuits, and are also skilled at assisting you with home births as well as water births.
Founded in 2002 by Dr. Amy Chin-Atkins, Four Trimesters is now headed by Ginny Phang. Their team of trained and qualified doulas empower parents to have a safe and positive birth experience, with the overall aim of improving maternity care in general.
Kong Choon Yen: (+65) 9863 7867
Fauziah Abbas: (+65) 9297 0171
Certified and registered doulas will be accepted into the following hospitals in Singapore:
- KK Women & Children’s Hospital
- Parkway East
- Raffles Hospital
- National University Hospital
- Gleneagles Hospital
- Mount Elizabeth
- Thomson Medical Centre
Mums-to-be, in the end and most importantly, you need to feel extremely comfortable with your doula, as she’ll be with you in one of the most incredible and memorable life events you’ll experience.
*A registry of doulas in Singapore is currently being compiled. Once this information is available, this article will be updated with it.
Watch this video below to see how a doula can help in a woman’s birth experience:
Share with us in the comment box below: have you used a doula? Or are you thinking of having a doula be with you when you give birth?
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