Preparing for Labour and Understanding The Role Of Doulas

Every woman’s labour story is different. Even for mothers who have birthed more than one child, each labour experience won’t be the same as the previous one. A story told by a mother-of-two Noretta Jacobs paints a perfect picture of that.

Noretta’s first child was born in the hospital, and while she had her mindset for a water birth at the hospital for her second child, things didn’t quite go as planned as she accidentally gave birth at home.

On the day she gave birth, Noretta explained that she was asleep at home, but a jolt of excruciating pain woke her up. It was only then she realised she was in active labour.

“I must’ve slept through my contractions. Everything happened so quickly, within a half an hour my water bag broke, and I immediately gave birth, so we didn’t make it to the hospital,” she said.

Luckily, both Noretta and her husband were already in contact with a doula, so they had her quickly come to assist them at home.

“Both my husband and I are part of a Whatsapp group chat with doulas, so he knew who to call when it happened,” she said.

Having experienced both hospital and home birth led Noretta to discover so much more about pregnancy and childbirth. Through her experience, she wants to educate expecting parents on preparing for labour and knowing what to expect throughout the beautiful journey called pregnancy.

“When I gave birth the first time, I was induced and had been put on epidural, so I didn’t quite feel a natural pain, instead I felt the induced pain which was madness. For my second child, I wanted to go as natural as I could,” she said.

Noretta, who is the founder of Safar Training & Consultancy in Singapore, will be hosting a workshop called ‘Birthing With Wisdom’ for parents this Oct 20th.

 

“Safar Training is all about educating people out there be it, educators or parents. I have decided to do ‘Birthing With Wisdom’ as I want to share about my own experience of giving birth at home accidentally.

“It helped me a lot when I knew what birthing, labour, and pregnancy is all about. There are a lot of mothers out there who are still unsure about their own birthing.

“For the workshop, I will collaborate with certified doulas Nor Faizah Masod and Nurshirhaini Sarip from Love At Birth who will share their knowledge about pregnancy and birthing as well.

“Here, couples can come in and ask lots of questions. The doulas are going to share with them in terms of what to expect during labour and how parents can prepare for unforeseen circumstances,” said Noretta.

The workshop will also address some of the concerns young parents face nowadays.

“I guess the concern that young parents face is basically the unknown, especially for first-timers. They don’t know how it’s like.

“This workshop is to tell them that birth can be done in a gentler manner and that you can basically own your birth.

“We just to want to share our knowledge with parents, give options with an abundance of information so, at the end of the day, they can make informed decisions,” said Nor Faizah and Nurshirhaini who are mothers of four respectively.

“Think about this workshop as a one-stop center for those who didn’t get to attend birthing classes. Anyone is welcome whether they are 33 weeks or even 17 weeks pregnant.

“Ask as many questions before you go into labour. It’s not too late, and it’s really open to anyone. But those who are still early in their pregnancy can further approach the doulas for more information.

“It’s also like a one-stop-shop for the mothers as they can explore items and services such as baby wear, essential oils and confinement meals too,” said Noretta.

 

UNDERSTANDING WHAT DOULAS DO

Firstly, what is a doula? A doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is expecting, is experiencing labour, or has recently given birth, as noted by americanpregnancy.org.

There have been many misconceptions associated with the role of doulas. “Doulas are not medically trained to deliver babies, and that’s the whole misconception. They are there to provide assistance during the pregnancy as well as post-pregnancy.

“It’s really about being the birthing sister. In fact, we encourage mothers to go to the hospital and deliver properly. Doulas are not just for the home birth. In Singapore, there are certified midwives and doulas in the hospital who are allowed to be in the labour ward to assist the expecting parents and to give them support,” said Noretta.

 

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Love At Birth is honoured to be given the opportunity to do a podcast interview with Berita Harian's #notapis on the topic of Doulas . Representing LAB, Sis Aza talked about the hard and heart work of being a birth worker and her experiences as a doula. ° The podcast was also to promote our upcoming workshop, Birthing With Wisdom organised by @safartraining.sg on 20th October. Your @loveatbirth doulas will be there to share information on birth. We are down with the last few slots left. Sign up for it now! ° In the meantime, here are some behind the scenes shots taken by Sis Nur & @norettajacob from Safar Training Sg. ❤️ ° See you guys on the 20th October! ° ° ° "Whenever & however you give birth… Your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body and your spirit…. For the rest of your life."

A post shared by Love at Birth (@loveatbirth) on

“We will also be there for you during post-partum if you have breastfeeding issues, or if you want to babywear your child,” said Nor Faizah.

“For me having a doula would really help as many women experience post-natal depression. With a doula, I knew who to call if I face any problems. They constantly call to check up on me too so it’s not just a one-way street.

“Compared to my first childbirth, I didn’t feel so alone the second time. They really helped me understand what I should be doing and assured me that it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to feel the pain. They were always there to support me,” said Noretta.

Is there really a difference in whether a woman has a doula by her side during labour or not? Well, here’s an interesting analogy explained by Nor Faizah.

“It’s like you climbing up Mt. Everest, you can do all that alone – face the hardships, etc. But if you have a Sherpa with you climbing up that mountain together, it will make the journey easier as the Sherpa has a lot of experience, plus you don’t have to face it alone,” she said.

But Nurshirhaini wants parents to understand that the role of the doula can never replace the role of the husband.

(Photo by César Abner Martínez Aguilar / Unsplash) 

“The best doula you can have is actually your husband, but that is provided he has all the knowledge about birthing. He is your best bet.

“A doula doesn’t replace a husband but when it comes to certain situations during labour like knowing where to massage the mother while she is in pain, a doula would have a better perspective and more experience,” she said.

Does that mean getting a doula is highly encouraged? “It really depends on the person because childbirth is something that is very personal. By having a doula, that person will be by your side during this extremely personal moment.

“If a couple wants to hire a doula, they should go through several rounds of interview and talk to several doulas to find that chemistry between them,” said Nurshirhaini.

“When it comes to knowledge, it goes without saying that the answers can be searched on Google. But with doulas, it’s all about connecting with the person emotionally and physically. Google will most probably provide more generic answers to your questions but with doulas, you get to go deeper than that,” said Noretta.

For more information on the workshop, check out Safar Training & Consultancy @ Facebook or Instagram @safartraining.sg . 

To reach out to the doulas, head to Love At Birth @ Instagram.