Giving birth is an experience that is made up of myriad emotions — anxiety, joy, elation, exhilaration, and 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.
What Is A Doula?
The word “doula” comes from 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.
A doula is trained to help make the whole birth experience as comfortable as possible for you.
Two Different Types of Doulas
Here is a brief description of the services provided by each of these doulas, which may be helpful in helping you choose.
Labour + Birth Doula
A doula is a trained professional who guides you through your birthing experience, offering support, guidance, and information along the way, according to DONA, the Doula Organization of North America.
A doula is described as “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.”
Doulas and midwives are frequently confused, but they are actually quite dissimilar. While both require certification and specialised training, doulas are educated as a support system to assist you emotionally throughout childbirth, whilst midwives are genuine healthcare providers with medical expertise to deliver your baby.
They are most renowned for assisting mothers with natural pain management. They have all the resources to support you if you choose to give delivery naturally.
A trained professional who helps new mothers and their families in the first few weeks after giving birth is known as a postpartum doula. Usually, their purpose is to ease your transition into motherhood. These women provide both emotional and practical support during nursing.
Unexpectedly, postpartum doulas accomplish a lot! They will assist you bond with your new baby, help with siblings, make meals, handle washing, and much more!
How Your Doula Will Work With You
Before childbirth, a birth doula will typically:
- Establish a meeting with you during your second or third trimester.
- Teach you how to unwind and breathe properly.
- Respond to your inquiries concerning childbirth
- Assist you in comprehending labour and delivery processes and potential issues
- Assist you in creating a birth plan
In the course of labour, the doula will:
- Remain by your side continually to soothe and support you.
- Use touch and massage to help you unwind and sleep
- Assist you in finding cosy postures
- Assist you in consuming enough calories and water
- Assist the medical professionals by explaining your preferences to them.
- Involve and reassure the upcoming father
After delivery, a doula can:
- After you bring your kid home, provide you and your partner support and motivation.
- Show you both how to take care of your newborn child.
- Assist with knowledge about breastfeeding
- Encourage the father and other family members, and show them how to assist you.
- Ensure that you get enough sleep, eat frequently, stay hydrated, and are at ease.
Benefits of Having a Doula
Studies have shown that with a doula in attendance during birth:
- 25% of women have shorter labour
- a 50% reduction in the caesarean 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.
5. It might lessen birth-related anxiety.
You will feel more at ease and at ease about your birth and what lies ahead since you have this incredible support system by your side. It adds comfort and calm to the environment to have an experienced companion with you at all times.
A doula will help you work through your concerns if you have previously had a difficult birth or if you truly desire a natural, unmedicated birth. They want you to have a satisfying birthing experience!
6. Your partner can concentrate on you.
There are many things happening when having a baby. in particular during transition. Some husbands find it difficult to see you in agony, and they frequently feel helpless and unsure of what to do. A doula can be your expert assistance by being by your side.
Doulas can encourage your partner to participate and even assist you in giving birth. This will help your spouse relax and become more focused on the magnificent miracle that is happening in front of their eyes.
7. They are well-versed in labour and delivery.
The majority of doulas have assisted in a LOT of deliveries and labours, so they are generally well-versed in what to anticipate and how to handle unforeseen circumstances. However, not all do; bear in mind that you need to select someone who has been doing this for some time.
It can be helpful to have a support person who isn’t a medical expert to help you see the wider picture. The use of big words by nurses, midwives, and doctors during labour can be confusing and lead to decisions that you may come to regret. Doulas will be there to assist you in weighing your options!
8. Known to reduce the likelihood of interventions
A doula will assist you in creating the space necessary for decision-making. If you are hesitant to speak up, they will be your voice!
The ACOG asserts that doulas assist in lowering your likelihood of requiring interventions.
9. Doulas typically have a natural approach
Again, if you intend to proceed alone, you must consider and prepare for some natural pain management. A doula will be able to help you identify what you need because they carry a lot of tools!
They can give you several things to try and will typically look for natural ways to assist you improve. A doula will try to make the experience enjoyable for you if it is important to you that you forego an epidural.
Disadvantages of Having a Doula
1. They are pricey
It might not be possible to hire a doula for your labour and delivery experience depending on your family’s financial status and the quality of your health insurance. With just hospital expenses, having a baby alone can be fairly expensive for some women.
2. Typically, healthcare professionals don’t love them.
Doulas accompany the mother wherever she chooses to give birth since they provide a support system. Despite the fact that doulas are growing in popularity, some healthcare professionals are still apprehensive about working with them.
The usefulness of a doula should be recognised by your healthcare provider if you are considering employing one. Making ensuring you have the wonderful birthing experience you deserve can depend entirely on this.
3. Too many opinions that differ and they may get in the way.
Some mums do not appreciate hearing a lot of diverse viewpoints and instead feel overwhelmed by it. Some doulas have wonderful intentions and want you to feel knowledgeable and in control, but sometimes we just need to trust our instincts. particularly if you have a solid support network.
4. The L+D Nurse is available to support you
You have absolutely no idea who your nurse (or nurses) will be while you are in labour, but they attended college to help you. They are up to speed on everything and are knowledgeable about your needs throughout childbirth. Ask them questions and rely on their answers!
5. You might pick the wrong person
This doula may be PERFECT for you on paper. They may have even had hundreds of five-star reviews, but you just click with her differently. Sometimes a doula appears wonderful, but once they are immersed in the turmoil of labour, they start to feel intrusive.
Make sure you interview them and ask them a lot of questions about their strategy to make sure this does NOT occur.
Doula vs. Midwife: What’s The Difference?
A midwife and a doula vary from one other in one key way. You receive medical care from midwives throughout your pregnancy, birth, and immediate postpartum period. Doulas provide you and your family with emotional, informational, and physical support during pregnancy, birth and the immediate postpartum period.
Doulas don’t give medical advice or conduct any form of examinations for patients.
Similar to a doctor, a midwife gives medical attention. Many midwives also provide information, physical comfort, and emotional support to women during pregnancy and childbirth, but your physical well-being and the safety of your child are always her first priorities.
Your midwife will order tests, carry out internal checks and cervical checks, collect measures, and carry out clinical duties during the pregnancy period. She will control your labour and take care of the newborn.
A doula doesn’t carry out clinical functions. A doula can advise you about exams, but only a midwife or doctor can place your clinical care and request the tests.
Early in labour, midwives rarely offer face-to-face care.
Midwives monitor and evaluate the progress of clients who are in early labour. A midwife frequently leaves you before you enter active labour. A doula will be there as soon as you ask for their assistance if you need support and comfort during the early stages of labour. A doula will accompany you during the entire labour and delivery process.
The duties of a midwife and a doula are obvious when childbirth becomes complex.
Your midwife will prioritise keeping you and your baby physically healthy if difficulties emerge during labour. Your doula will offer knowledge, support, and physical comfort.
In order for you and your spouse to comprehend what is occurring better, doulas may explain it to you. You can stay relaxed and comfortable with the aid of your doula. Your doula will provide evidence-based information and resources if your midwife presents options that weren’t part of your birth plan so you can make the best choice for you and your family.
What Is A Doula Certification?
You must take breastfeeding education and childbirth education programmes, as well as witness a predetermined number of births, if you’re interested in working as a birth doula.
As a birth doula, you must often complete up to 12 hours of childbirth education, 16 hours of birth doula training, and two to five deliveries. You will learn useful hands-on skills throughout training, as well as the advantages of doula care and why it is so crucial for families.
You must learn about home visiting, as well as how to look after mums and babies, in order to become a postpartum doula. This usually involves helping at least two women with postpartum assistance and roughly 27 hours of training. Doula workshops also provide guidance in locating customers and beginning
Through training programmes and childbirth education groups like DONA International and the International Childbirth Education Association, you can participate in workshops and classes.
Based on your birth philosophy, your financial situation, your schedule, and your educational requirements, you can choose the curriculum that is perfect for you. Do you, for instance, require training in labour support skills? To assist you in making a choice, you might want to speak with people who have taken lessons through a particular programme or organisation.
Additionally, while some programmes include certification as part of the fee, others could charge extra to apply for certification. Although certification is not required to work as a doula, it does give you greater credibility with clients and can lead to additional career options, especially if you want to work with a hospital or birth centre.
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.
How To Choose The Right Doula
Find a doula with whom you click
Nothing is worse than feeling pressured to impress, mollycoddle, or entertain your doula while you are in the throes of labour. Instead, you ought to feel entirely at ease around her. Getting along is crucial since one of the joys of having a doula is developing a deep and ongoing relationship before, during, and after the birth.
Doulas are frequently willing to travel, especially in remote regions, but you must be certain that she will get there before your child. Each person will be able to offer advice on this, but even the finest doula won’t help if she or he isn’t present.
Make sure your doula is empathetic if you’re doing any birth preparation. For instance, a doula might utilise the same music and language during her prenatal relaxation sessions if you are using the Natal Hypnotherapy recordings. The strong messages and affirmations will be reinforced if everyone is singing from the same hymnal.
And if you can, get in touch with former customers. You can choose exactly what you want and help solidify your decision to hire a doula just by talking to other women about their experiences.
Pick a plan that suits your needs
Numerous doulas provide a wide range of additional pre and postnatal services that can be customised to meet your needs. They can assist with a wide range of psychological or physical problems, including breastfeeding and phobias. Choose the options that are best for you.
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.
Address:15 Tham Soong Avenue, Singapore 597031 (Next to Beauty World MRT)
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +65 6204 5456
Whatsapp or SMS: +65 9008 6556
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.
Address: 33 Taman Warna Singapore 276369
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +65 9664 4565
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.
Watch this video below to see how a doula can help in a woman’s birth experience:
Updates by Matt Doctor
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.