A Doula For Every Woman

As Doula UK Chair Nicola Wilson explains, “the past year has seen a surge in interest in the doula community with many recognising that with rising intervention rates, increased birth trauma and postnatal depression women in the UK urgently need more help during this vulnerable and life changing time.

We are only too aware of alarming statistics such as the fact that suicide is the biggest cause of maternal death in the UK. We have therefore focused our efforts on building our work with women who need us the most. We want to ensure that every woman in the UK who needs and wants a doula has that opportunity.

To make this a reality I am pleased to announce that the Doula UK Access Fund has partnered with Hestia, a charity with a large women’s services department providing assistance to vulnerable women in 11 London boroughs through their domestic abuse service. Doula UK members will offer free birth and postnatal doula services to women through Hestia, ensuring that those on the run from abuse in the home have experienced and consistent help through their pregnancies, births and first weeks with a new baby.”

The project has already seen Doula UK members work with Hestia to support women who have no family or friends at their sides as they prepare to give birth.

As Doula UK spokesperson Rebecca Schiller adds, “having worked with new mothers through Hestia’s domestic abuse services I know the vital difference a trusted and experienced friend can make. Instead of facing pregnancy alone and arriving in labour without a close companion, the Doula UK Access Fund is offering women continuous support that we know reduces intervention rates, improves mothers’ experiences and sets them up positively for parenthood. This is never more important than with groups such as those without homes whose maternal mortality rises from a national average of 1 in 10,000 to 135 in 10,000.”

The scheme, which is entirely funded by donations, is London based but Doula UK is actively looking to expand this work across the country.

As Nicola Wilson adds, “partnering with Hestia’s domestic abuse services is one of a number of new initiatives Doula UK doulas are involved with in addition to supporting thousands of new families in a more traditional way. Our doulas are currently staffing an early labour unit at Chelsea and Westminster hospital, providing unique assistance to women across the borough in partnership with the medical team. Our members also offer free breastfeeding support at a range of hospitals such as the Royal Free as well as working with women across the country via our Access Fund.

We are delighted to celebrate World Doula Week by announcing a scheme that begins to ensure all women have what they deserve, someone at their side to build their confidence, hold their hand and listen.”

To find out more about Doula UK and its network of doulas visit http://doula.org.uk/