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Having a doula for your labour?

Interview on Channel News Asia

Pregnancy and labour can be an overwhelming experience. Some mothers-to-be turn to doulas for support during this critical time. What exactly is doula? We find out more.

Do you see more of your patients requesting for doulas?

Yes, I do see more of my patients requesting for doulas. Hospitals labour wards are busy, and midwives work in shifts. It is therefore challenging to provide one to one support with the same midwife continuously during the whole duration of labour. Therefore, doulas play a very important and crucial role in providing the labouring mum continuous support during labour. Continuous support during labour has been shown in research to reduce interventions like instrumental births and caesarean sections, and is important in helping women achieve natural vaginal births.

Is there ever clash of opinion between doula and gynae or do they work in tandem?

Differences in opinion can obviously happen between doulas and gynae. Differences in opinion can happen between healthcare professionals (for example midwives and gynae ) too. As a gynae, I feel that it is important to listen to the wishes of the labouring mum, as well as the views of her doula. However, if there are any situations in which the safety of the labouring mum or her baby is compromised, it will be crucial for me to discuss the necessary interventions with the labouring mum and her partner. Majority of the time, doula and gynae do work in tandem, as our aim is to make the birth experience enjoyable and memorable.

Are doulas regulated in Singapore? Do they need to be?

Majority of hospitals interviewed doulas and have approved list of doulas. The aim is to ensure that the doulas have a common understanding of the hospital emergency policies, so that in the rare event that the life of the labouring mum / baby is at risk, the doula can facilitate the healthcare providers in performing the necessary resuscitation measures.

What sort of patients of yours would seek to have a doula ?

Patients of mine who hope to achieve a birth experience with fewer interventions are the ones who seek help from Doulas. Labouring mums who are planning water births also commonly seek help with water births.

What has your experience been like working with them?

I have a fantastic experience working with Doulas. They helped support my patients in labour well, ensuring that their birth experience was enjoyable. I have had patients who deliver over 4kg babies in water. I have had patients delivering over 4 kg babies without needing episiotomy and stitching after delivery. Without the continuous support from the Doulas, I do not think the labouring mums would have achieved these smooth journeys in labour.

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