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Tammy Halliday
Experienced Doula / Birth Assistant Certificate 4 in Doula Support Services

all Melbourne areas

Australian Doula College Member


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Won't the Doula impose her own beliefs onto the woman or couple about how the birth should go?

    The doula's true agenda is to help ensure that the woman's or couple's agenda is acknowledged and followed as much as possible. If the doula is thoroughly familiar with the couple's wishes and their birth plan, she may actually think more about it than the couple, especially when labour is intense and things are happening rapidly. The doula can remind the staff or the couple of some items on the birth plan that are forgotten, but which later might be important.

    Sometimes if a birth plan is not followed, the couple later look back with regret or disappointment. The doula helps with decision-making by asking questions that will ensure that the right information is given to the woman or couple so that they can make informed decisions. She may also suggest alternatives for the couple to consider. She does not, however, speak on their behalf or make decisions for the couple.

    In summary, the doula helps make the birth experience to be as rewarding and satisfying as possible. As one father said, "I heaved a big sigh of relief when she (the doula) walked in. I hadn't realized how much pressure I had been feeling. She not only calmed my wife, she calmed me down."

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  • Won't the Doula "take over", displace the partner and interfere with their intimate experience?

    The doula can actually bring the couple closer, with the doula making sure that the partner's needs are met (food, drink, etc), the woman and partner can work more closely together. The Doula can also be source of reassurance for the partner as she explains why and how things are happening, helps him work through any fears he may be experiencing so he is in the optimal position to make any decisions on behalf of his partner and baby. The doula allows for the partner to participate at his own comfort level. Some partners prefer to be there only to witness the birth of their child and to share this experience with the woman they love. They may not want to play an active role and do not want to be responsible for the woman's comfort and emotional security. The doula can fill in and allow the partner to participate as he wishes, without leaving the woman's needs unmet. When the partner chooses to be the major source of emotional support, the doula can supplement his or her efforts by running errands, making suggestions for comfort measures, and offering words of reassurance and comfort. During a long tiring labour, she can give the partner a break for a brief rest or change of scene. While the doula probably knows more than the partner about birth, hospitals, and maternity care, the partner knows more about the woman's personality, likes and dislikes, and needs. Moreover, he loves the woman more than anyone else there. The combined contributions of partner and doula, along with a competent, considerate and caring staff, give the woman the best chance of an optimal outcome.

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  • What if I poo during labour?

    This seems to be the number one thing on many pregnant women’s minds!

    Don’t forget that life does go on after an embarrassing moment. Let’s face it, the people that are closest to us often see us in embarrassing situations at one point or another e.g. how many of us have passed gas in front of our partner? Or squatted to wee in the bush on a long road trip etc. And if those things happened in front of someone who really loves you, they probably still loved you just as much, or even more afterwards, because hey! you’re human!

    It’s important to know that a lot of women do pass a little bit of poo during the birth of their babies and that this phenomenon is NORMAL. If you think about it, when your doula or midwife tells you to “bear down and push” they are really telling you to push like you have to poo! It is the exact same motion. And if you do poo they are usually reassured that you are pushing correctly! In fact, the worst thing you can do is not push because you are afraid to poo! You could just end up pushing for way longer than you should have all because fear of embarrassment overcame you.

    Excessive worry and fear during labour releases hormones that can physically slow or stop your progress.

    What can you do?
    It is a natural urge in first stage of labour that you will want to go to the toilet, and you will probably even have a slight case of the runs. This serves the purpose of clearing your bowel out so that by the time you get to second stage labour there’s not a lot in there anyway. So do go to the bathroom and empty your bowels as often as you want in early labour. Feeling like you have to poo during active labour or transition is almost always the baby putting pressure on your rectum.

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  • How can I minimise the chances of tearing during labour?

    There are many things you can do to help minimise the chances of tearing during labour including:

    - good nutrition & hydration
    - positioning during birth
    - perineal massage
    - understanding pushing and breathing during birth
    - EPI-No - The EPI-NO Childbirth Trainer reduces the risks of tearing, & episiotomy (stitches) during a natural birth. Used early in pregnancy to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, EPI-NO exercises change after Week 36 to prepare the perineum.

    Please contact me to discuss these in more detail and obtain comprehensive information on all of these subjects.

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