What does a doula do?

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Ali Norell is a Cuckfield resident who carries out reflexology, massage and is also a fertility, pregnancy and birth support for women. Here she explains what it is that a ‘doula’ does...

The full story is printed on page 28 of Sept/Oct 2013 issue of the magazine.

By Ali Norell

Back in 2007, when I undertook my first serious piece of doula training in central London where I lived, the awareness of doulas (pronounced ‘doola’) was low, and their presence at births often questioned. Basically, a doula is an experienced woman who offers practical and emotional support to a mother-to-be from somewhere around midway in her pregnancy to the birth itself, and often beyond. Two popular phrases which help to describe what a doula does are ‘holding the space’ and ‘mothering the mother’.


We are not medically trained and, contrary to some popular belief, neither are we there to challenge the medical profession. Rather, we are advisors to and advocates for an expectant couple; helping them to navigate the often tricky and confusing waters of birthing and hopefully enabling them to feel a sense of empowerment and confidence in what is unarguably one of life’s greatest challenges and achievements. We attend births in hospitals and homes, for however long or short a time that birth takes; we are a constant presence, we never leave our client’s side.

...read more in the magazine...