The one guaranteed way to be the best doula you can be.

(Not that I’m prone to hyperbole)

In all seriousness, there is a fundamental skill which separates the passionate, well-meaning doula from the insightful, effective and professional one. That skill is reflective practice.

What reflective practice isn’t:

  • Rehashing bad scenarios.
  • Relying on your own knowledge and experience to help you make sense of every situation.
  • Unfocused and undirected remembering and daydreaming.
  • Journaling (although that is a good start).

Ok, so what is it?

  • A framework for thinking.
  • A tool to help structure your learning needs 
  • The ability to turn every experience into a growth opportunity.
  • Really rewarding. Once you see what a difference it makes it is hard to stop!
  • Vital for doulas who are working independently or in isolation.

We Birth are making a film and we want you!

UPDATE: We have received a few requests to extend the time for submissions so if you are still keen to be a part of this project please be in contact with us. we are hoping to have them in by the beginning of August. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the thought of filming flick us an email and we can chat with you and help you through it.

 

Hi, Beautiful community of doulas and birth workers.

To all the amazing, heartfelt, caring and passionate people working in the space with women and families as they welcome a new life into the world.

Are you keen to share your passion and experience with a wide community of women and families?

Do you seek connection and community with fellow doulas, where you can share your enthusiasm and goals and business dreams and be supported and support each other?

If so, please keep reading.

We are putting the call out to Doulas in the We Birth community to submit a short video introducing yourself and sharing your top tips or information for women and families.

We will edit the films into 2 different films.

  1. A film about doulas FOR doulas. Giving you an opportunity to get to know each other and support other doulas with your experience. NEW doulas, please don’t be discouraged. we want to hear from you too! Tell us about your transition, your learning, your passions. We are all coming from unique places with value to share.
  2. A film for women and families. This film will be a compilation of the best advice that Doulas in our community have to offer. You can use this video freely with clients, and be a part of the opportunity to build your own brand awareness and generate growth. This film is free for participants to use, and sell. (Yes, it is your property too!). The only restriction with sales is: A. To sell at a standard RRP and B. 50% of the sales go directly to the charity of our choice (more about this later).

Are you still unsure about the benefits?

  • Your couples and the public, in general, will learn just how valuable you are.
  • Grow your status as a doula!
  • Greater awareness creates greater business for you!
  • Be aligned with a community of passionate, forward-thinking doulas.
  • Support organisations on the front line, caring for birthing women and new families.

Get creative if you want and present yourself in wild and wacky ways!

The film is starring YOU and YOUR top tips, so share it and have some fun.

The film will be your property to share to generate huge business growth potential!

It will be such fun getting to know each other in the making of the movies and once complete We Birth will have an event where we screen the movies and have some fun.

Open to doulas and birth workers anywhere.

What do you need to do to join in?
Sign up to our email list and join our Facebook group then simply follow the next steps, including filming yourself being careful to meet each of the criteria.

  1. (optional) Send us an email letting us know what special skill/ tip for women you will be sharing on film. Obviously, we can’t have 30 doulas all sharing the hip squeeze, so if you have a fantastic idea jump in and reserve your spot!
  2. Record your responses to each of the following topics. It is important you leave a 10-second gap between responses to help us with editing. Be mindful of time limits. We may have to trim clips and if over the time limit, they may not be eligible.
  3. Send your film to us at webithdoulas@gmail.com. Large files can be sent via drop box, or as a google file. Contact us if you have any concerns. Also send us your name, business name, contact details and logo etc for us to display in the film.
  4. Tell your doula friends to join in too. Feel free to team up and submit together if you wish.
  5. Submissions close mid August. First come first serve. We will post a list of topics on our blog as they are submitted, so if you are keen to share a particular skill, technique or idea get in and submit your idea. You can check in and see what other doulas are sharing before you commit to filming. We reserve the right to close submissions early if the response is overwhelming.

 

Topics.

  1. Introduce yourself and if appropriate your business name. Try to keep this succinct, however, include the information about yourself/your business that women and families will need to find you. (max 30 seconds)
  2. Tell us about your passions. Professional and private. We want to know YOU (max 2 minutes).
  3. Things you are NOT about. (max 2 minutes)
  4. Your hopes and dreams for your business. Try to sum this up in 2 or three sentences. (max 1 minute)
  5. Your top tips for women and families. These are to be presented in 3 categories: Antenatal, labour & birth and Postpartum. You can be as creative as you like in this area, try and keep it relevant to your business. We are looking for up to about 5 minutes of content for each person. You might use this time to demonstrate one skill, discuss a remedy or read a hypnobirthing script! Perhaps you might offer tips and tricks for 2 or even 3 different categories. Get creative! If submitting clips to be categorised, please leave a gap of at least 10 seconds to help with editing. (4-6 minutes max)

We are really looking forward to receiving your entries.

 

Emergency training for Doulas

Why does a doula need to learn about obstetric emergencies?

Doulas are NOT medical professionals. Clinical care of the woman and baby is directly outside of our scope of practice. Clearly defining ourselves as non-clinicians is vital to safe practice.

However, we are there on the frontline. We are with women in the dark of night as they labour at home. Women are told to stay home as long as possible so they turn to us and ask for our support and help before they present to their care provider. We know labour is predictably unpredictable and although we do everything we can to direct women to their care provider there are a few, random situations where timely intervention can save lives.

Many professions have first aid requirements, and no doubt many qualified doulas have undergone some kind of first aid training.  An understanding of emergencies for doulas is important.

It is not appropriate for a doula to attend the kind of emergency training midwives, obstetric nurses and doctors attend. Their role in most emergencies is very different. Understanding a few scenarios that doulas may see might give them the insight to recognise when to call for emergency assistance.

Consider the following scenarios:

If a pregnant woman was to collapse at home in early labour what would you do? After calling for an ambulance, you may be asked to assist the ambulance officer on the phone. If you have an understanding of emergencies then you will feel more prepared to assist.

Supporting a woman in the home quickly turns into a precipitous labour and there is no time to get to the hospital. You have called for an ambulance but the baby is born stunned and not breathing. What do you do while you wait for help?

Moments after the birth of a baby the woman in your care begins to haemorrhage. Staff quickly flood the room to help her. How can you help her partner? Is there anything you can do to support the baby?

This is a course about obstetric and neonatal emergencies completely devoted to the unique needs of doulas.

Experienced doulas may have (unfortunately) come across these sorts of scenarios in the past. However, these skills need to be practised, to keep current, particularly when we don’t use them very often. If you are a newly qualified (or qualifying) doula, learning about emergencies and hearing from more experienced doulas can help equip you with ideas and skills if you ever need them in you (hopefully) long and rewarding career.

See our flagship course: Emergencies in Childbearing for Doulas and Birth Workers HERE

Emergencies In Childbearing

Advanced Skills, Knowledge, & Technical Training For Doulas Who Want to Be Confident, Calm And Know Exactly What To Do In Emergency Situations.

The Emergencies In Childbearing course is the first of its kind in Australia and has been developed specifically for Doulas who want to:

  • Be more prepared, confident and calm in emergency situations
  • Undergo specific training and role play of your role in emergency situations
  • Be able to detect common warning signs during pregnancy, labour and post delivery
  • Be acknowledged and respected by other birth professionals as a valued team member in emergency situations
  • Better understand the ethical, legal and professional role of the doula in an obstetric emergency

Unlike other courses about maternal & neonatal emergencies, this course is designed with the needs of the doula in mind. Learn what you need to know to serve women and families in your care.

The feedback from Doulas, midwives and other birth professionals about this course has been incredible so far, and we are so confident that you’ll love and appreciate the training that we are offering a 100% Money Back Guarantee.

Then please click here for full details, pricing and a course preview.

Hear what doulas and midwives are saying about this course:

Sheryl Sidery –
Well known and respected Independent Midwife, Clinical Midwifery Educator and Senior University Lecturer UTS, Sydney Australia

Ellen Turchini 
Mother of three, Social Worker, Qualified Doula ADC, Sydney Australia

Jane Hardwicke Collings
Internationally acclaimed Midwife and founder of  The School of Shamanic Womancraft and International Women’s’ Mysteries School, Author of Ten Moons and Herstory.

Sam Gunn –
Mother of four, Accountant, Qualified Doula ADC, Sydney Australia

 Have you seen the course outline?

You can see it all here.

3 Main Reasons You Need This Course:

  1. To ensure a woman’s wishes, dignity and wellbeing a respected during an emergency.
  2. To be able to understand, communicate and assist other birth professionals during an emergency. Doulas who undertake our course are highly respected and sought after by other birth professionals.
  3. To ensure you remain calm, confident and do not become traumatised or burnt out after during and after an obstetric emergency.

A Supportive Community For Professional Doulas
As well as learning these advanced techniques and trainings, and being given the necessary tools and role play examples to implement what you learn in pressure situations, you’ll also benefit by becoming a member of our supportive, professional doula community.

At the end of each module in this course there is a comments section where we discuss the lessons and you can ask questions and have your peers, and also Jacki and Jennifer provide feedback, stories and helpful insights to what you have just learned.

Our active facebook group is also a great place to support each other and discuss topics around all aspects of being a doula (including professional and business development) and empowering women during pregnancy and childbirth.

Join our facebook group here for a really supportive and caring doula community, keen to learn and expand their knowledge

Jacki’s Story

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My name is Jacki Barker and I am a doula with a busy business in Sydney Australia. I teach parents HypnoBirthing using Marie Mongan’s Method which helps to achieve wonderful calm and joyful births. I first saw the incredible difference this course made to couples in birth when working as a midwife in the UK almost 20 years ago. I knew there and then birth did not have to be about drama and pain as we are all programmed to believe. I walked from one room where a woman was screaming in terror demanding an epidural to the next room where a mother breathed her baby out with a smile on her face.

As a result of my experience, I learnt to attend water births regularly. I knew I would be a midwife who would do what I could to bring peace and normality to birth. I have also been very fortunate to have assisted Independent Midwife Sheryl Sidery with her home births as the second midwife for the past year and it has been a real pleasure to be present at so many wonderful home waterbirths and an honour to work with Sheryl.

I believe that with education, we have the power to heal birth. Birth needs to heal at a worldwide level. Birth is a sacred and beautiful event and we need to help people believe in the sanctity of birth once more. With education and time, I think this is achievable. “Women today not only possess genetic memory of birth from a thousand generations of women, but they are also assailed from every direction by information and misinformation about birth.” (Valerie El Halta)

I also believe women need to have doulas as we all know studies show births with intervention are hugely reduced when a doula is involved. So by increasing the number of doulas who are spreading positive, evidence-based research and helpful information about birth then changing birth stories to reassuring and happy outcomes more and more, we can make a difference. For more on my bio please visit my doula business www.lovecherub.com.

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Nice to meet you.

Ethics and standards. Not the most glamorous topic. But it is important to know what drives us and this is a great way to know. We do have 2 particularly wordy documents that really outline the ethics and standards that underpin We Birth education and other events. This is a brief yet hopefully clear overview of what we stand for.

Our ethics and standards pertaining to the Doulas that we educate

A doula is hired to provide emotional, spiritual, physical and mental support to childbearing women and their families.

The woman and families personal needs and preferences are always the centre of the care provided by the doula.

The doula/woman relationship is a professional one, although deeply personal and connected. Boundaries are mutually decided by the woman and the doula and made clear at the commencement of the personal relationship.

The doula does not provide medical care or advice specific to the woman even if she has been trained to do so in a different capacity. Contracts between Doula and client must clarify this.

The doula may use other professional services in the service of the woman she cares for however is subject to the professional guidelines and codes of those professions.

Where possible doulas should take professional indemnity insurance.


 

What do you think? We really value feedback and we love connecting with heartfelt, passionate doulas all over. Feel free to drop us a line and let us know.

What is all the fuss about poo?    

At almost every vaginal birth you attend, there comes a time when the whole poop discussion raises its head.

Women deeply in touch with their birthing instinct, briefly come back to the room and look you in the eye and whisper they are worried about a little poo escaping with the contractions. Some try and move towards the toilet from the birth pool despite being very close to birthing in order to avoid the embarrassment of opening their bowel. It seems crazy that we seem perfectly fine with liquor running down our legs for hours and blood and mucous strewn across our clothes, sheets and towels but we can’t accept a little poop.

I was told years ago  “Just tell women they are only feeling baby’s head and there is no poo there and not to worry”. If we were to talk about it, we were encouraged to play it down and say “it was only a tiny bit, and it is gone now”.

I believe, however, we should be educating women in the antenatal period that this sensation will occur in labour and not to feel embarrassed but acknowledge it as an important part of labour. Now we know, emptying the rectum creates more room for baby to descend, and when baby’s face passes over the perineum, baby ingests a little faeces. This colonises the baby’s gut with flora helping with immunity and even future mental health.

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So let’s help women forget anxiety and embarrassment and accept this as another of nature’s miracles. Embrace poops in labour – well figuratively anyhow, and tell women it is all normal and vital to baby’s good health.

words: Jacki Barker

Miwi Prints

aboriginal placenta

 

Minmia is an aboriginal senior woman, healer and educator. She is also a custodian of traditional women’s lore/ law of the Wirradjirri people.

In her book, ‘Under the quandong tree’, Minmia stresses the importance of burying placentas in birthing ceremonies. The purpose of placing the placenta in the ground or into our Mother Earth or Nungeena-tya is to ensure the miwi print expressed within the placenta itself is safely kept there until the child hits puberty.

A miwi is a soul. Souls according to Minmia, are reincarnated many times and each time they return to learn more about life. Each time a soul reincarnates or a baby is born, the lessons of the previous lives are recorded within the miwi print which is found on the surface of the placenta.

When the child reaches puberty, their ‘seed’ falls onto the earth’s surface and is instantly recognised by Nungeena-tya who links it to the child’s miwi print and she guides the young person through their physical life.

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If we are to dispose of a baby’s placenta in a hospital; where they are incinerated together, Minmia explains that their miwi prints melt together and this causes confusion for those children at puberty. The melting together of the maps means Miwi prints will have more than one map and so it is impossible to connect with one journey. The spiritual maps of those children are lost.

Fortunately, A rebirthing ceremony can repair this. Oh yes! Another good reason for delayed cord clamping… The baby will receive the miwi essence instructions. If cut too early the cord only retains this information. A rebirthing using the cord clamp can be the solution.

10 must haves for every doula bag.

How is your Doula bag looking? If it is anything like mine it is a highly cultivated cornucopia of all things birthing, in a convenient package, light and portable enough to be carried from home to clients home, to the hospital and back home again. I have spent a great deal of time balancing the desire to have something for “every possible need” vs being able to actually walk while holding it. The following list shows the most valuable contents that I really can’t live without.

1.  An amazing Bag. Extra points for pockets.

 

 

Ok. Technically this is not in the bag but as someone with a tendency to over-prepare and a love for all things in its own place a great, a hard working bag is a must. I have had my fair share of bags over the years, (some have been better than others) and have found the 3 main needs are size, quality and organisation. To have a handle break or a seam line split mid-birth is more than a little annoying. It needs to fit a pretty wide variety of contents (see below) and what’s more, you usually need to find that one exact item pretty quickly. I have used a large volume Hershel duffel bag (cute, hardworking, pretty indestructible) but there still remains the issue of organising.  On more than one occasion I have had to unpack/repack my bag to get to that all important item at the bottom. You might find organising your belongings into 2 bags serves you well in the beginning, but when you are ready to invest there is a range of perfectly suited bags marketed under “midwives bag” (go ahead, google it) that have pockets for just about everything. In the middle range, you will find a bunch of backpacks/duffle bags/ shoulder bags that have a number of external pockets, and these might be enough for you to organise your supplies without breaking the bank.

2. An old muesli bar.

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Well, that’s what I have but really it can be any snack for you and other support people to share. In a perfect world this would be a fresh salad with some good protein, however more often than not the mad dash out the door means not a great deal of time to plan some meals, sandwiches and snacks for you to eat and restore your energy. For me, the old muesli bar is my go-to because it stores well, is high in protein, doesn’t have a strong odour (garlic breath may not be the birthing woman’s favourite scent), and can be eaten with one hand, a bite at a time, and over several hours if need be.

3. Heat packs.

If you haven’t got heat packs in your bag. well, you should. I personally use sodium acetate reusable heat packs. They have an aluminium disk that you “click” and the sodium acetate crystallises to create instant heat (around 50 degrees celsius) that lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Theoretically, these can be reused forever, and they last as long as the plastic holds together (usually a few hundred uses). The prices can range a LOT, so think about how many you need to get a good stockpile knowing constant heat on back, abdomen, legs etc. in labour is definitely a bonus. I personally haven’t found a huge variation between the expensive name brands and some cheaper ones (found at the reject shop) but feel free to comment if you have had a different experience.

4. Massage tools

Because birthing women get tired. But so do we. There is a massive range to choose from. Some of the options include small battery operated massagers, wooden reflexology tools and deluxe hand-held percussion/heat/massage tools for head and back. Special mention to the orgasmatron (if you are not familiar with it please try to ignore the name).

5. Spare change

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It feels like most places in the world accept cards, but for some reason, a lot of hospital services aren’t always as accessible. Keeping a few notes and coins around for parking, coffee, vending machine and incidentals will really help. I have been to more than a couple of births that have lasted longer than my battery life (#11 remember your phone charger!!) and needed to check in at home with a payphone.

6. Music player

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In a perfect world, women will have the time, desire and patience to curate their personal playlist/s for birth. But in those moments when they have been forgotten or unfinished, having a few options to play is incredibly helpful. There is nothing worse than arriving at the place of birth and not having anything to drown out the sounds of chatter/ chaos/ other birthing women in the hall and adjacent rooms. Having access to an online music stream is a great option that doesn’t require purchasing a music player, you can find them free or buy a paid subscription. Spending some time making a few different playlists will give you different moods at the press of a button. If you are going to invest in music, I would absolutely recommend a Bluetooth speaker, for your music (or for the music of your client) over a music subscription (if you need to choose) because sound quality and volume can make all the difference.

7. Aromatherapy

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Creating space for women to labour and birth in is essentially flooding their senses with positive sensations. Considering scent, there are a range of uses for essential oils to help create the environment you are aiming for. Consider using them in a massage oil, in a diffuser or a couple of drops on the shower floor or in a bath.

8. Journal

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Keeping a journal of your experiences, what worked, what didn’t, how the woman moved instinctively, or how she was moved into a position (positive or negative) is really beneficial to improving your care and practice. Writing in the quiet moments of labour and postpartum can be a great way of being present (to be called on if needed) without being invasive (respecting that the woman and her family are doing a great job without your intervention and may want your presence to reassure them but not needing direct action). Going back over your notes later on and reflecting on your practice, what worked well, what didn’t, what you know and have learnt and what you still need to know are such a vital component of our work as birth workers. Learning from the women and families we care for never stop,s and keeping a journal is a great way to keep track of that.

9. Knitting

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Firstly, as mentioned (see 8. journal writing) having a quiet, unintrusive activity to do while a woman is labouring, particularly something you can do in a low-lit room can be a fantastic tool if the woman you are caring for wants the reassurance of you being there without needing physical support. It’s a fantastic way to be present without watching her (which can be quite off-putting), but should probably be discussed with the woman before labour so she doesn’t think you are ignoring her. Quite a bit has been written about knitting in the midwifery profession and not all of it applies to work as a doula, though is well worth the read. Bonus points if you are able to craft something so give the parents or baby as a gift. It can be quite special, and think of the energy embedded in something made in the birthing space.

10. Change of clothes

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Because long days and nights can leave you feeling less than fresh, and amniotic fluid has a tendency to splash. No one likes going home with some maternal body fluid on them.