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The qualities of a doula

Some qualities you may, or may not, appreciate in a birth attendant/doula

A helpful support person may be one who:

  • makes no emotional demands on you during labour, birth and bonding
  • will listen to, and not belittle, any fears or anxiety you may be experiencing
  • is easy to communicate with
  • is comfortable with physical contact with you
  • respects your right to make your own decisions
  • in no way expects you to perform for her
  • gives you her full attention and respect
  • is truly supportive and not simply a spectator
  • is enthusiastic about ‘active birth’ encouraging you to find positions comfortable for you during different stages of labour and birth
  • knows when to do NOTHING
  • can be invisible when necessary
  • is completely confident of your ability to give birth normally
  • is happy to do any practical jobs so that your partner can concentrate on you
  • is willing to stay with you in any eventuality
  • is un-inhibiting regarding nudity
  • is calm and centred throughout labour
  • has a sense of humour
  • has staying power and patience
  • is not easily offended
  • has a loving and heartfelt manner of being
  • recognises her own limits
  • has a talent for quiet observation
  • is compassionate and empathetic
  • can leave her ego at the door
  • is willing to cooperate with staff and equally willing to ‘fight’ them if necessary; is able to communicate your needs to medical personnel
  • knows when to give you some peace and privacy and can ensure others follow suit
  • is non-judgemental
  • is caring about your partner too. She will respect the ongoing interaction between you, your baby and family, and strive in every way not to interpose herself between those related family members
  • is available 24 hours per day