Doulas in Melbourne, VIC

Doula support for the best possible pregnancy and birth

 

Welcome to Doulas in Melbourne

CONGRATULATIONS on your pregnancy! And how FANTASTIC that you are researching the possibility of a Doula for your birth. What ever your plan for the birth, a Doula will support you to achieve the Best Birth possible on the day for you and your baby.

A Doula’s support can also dramatically increase your chance of experiencing a normal vaginal birth, a vbac (vaginal birth after a caesarean) and even a natural birth!

Doulas can support you to achieve this by ensuring that YOUR needs are central to the birth experience. She anticipates and understands your needs and supports you and your partner to communicate these to your midwife or doctor. The Doula trusts in your strength and innate capacity to birth normally and believes that you have the ability to make the best decisions for you and your baby.

 

Just knowing that you have had the best birth possible on the day, will create positive birth memories and deep feelings of profound satisfaction. What a perfect start to a lifetime of love and adventure with your child!

There are still places remaining in our Active Birth Workshop running on Sat 15 & Sat 22 March 2014  more details here


And our Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) Workshops, more details here


What can a Doula support you to achieve?

Research has shown that Doulas improve the overall outcome and experience of women giving birth. There have been many studies into the impact of continuous social support during birth and these have shown some amazing benefits! 

50% decrease in caesarean sections
25% decrease in the length of labour
30% decrease in use of forceps
40% decrease in use of oxytocin to speed labour up
60% decrease in use of epidurals
30% decrease in use of pain medications

 

Marshall H.Klaus, MD, John H. Kennell, MD and Phyllis H.Klaus, CSW, MFT (2002). The Doula Book: How a trained labour companion can help you have a shorter, easier and healthier birth. Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing

 

Even after the birth, the positive effects of using a Doula for your birth continue. Studies have shown that women have a lower incidence of postpartum depression, breastfeed for longer and are closer with their infants.

 

What is a Doula?

A Doula is a non-medical labour assistant, who provides continuous physical and emotional support to the birthing woman and her partner throughout labour and birth.

A Doula offers the one-to-one continuous care that the hospital staff team may be unable to provide. She offers support and comfort to the mother and her partner during labour and birth; she works to facilitate effective communication between the birthing couple and their midwife/doctor; and aims to preserve a peaceful and respectful birthing space within which the woman can respond instinctively to the needs of her body and birth her baby with dignity and profound satisfaction.

 

“Your wisdom, guidance, patience and sense of calm led us through a beautiful pregnancy and eventually a rewarding birth. You will always hold a special place in our lives and memories. Thank you so much for all you’ve given.”
Sue, Mont Albert North

 

Your Doula is able to offer a wide range of self-help ideas and partner support techniques for improving comfort and naturally managing pain during labour. She has been to many, many births and understands what a woman instinctively needs as she labours.

 

She is able to support and guide your partner, enabling him/her to play as full a role in the birth as they wish to play. This support can come in the form of:

 

Your Doula can support you to use labour positions which will maximize your body’s potential to birth safely and efficiently and allow you to relax.

  • Demonstrating support techniques for your partner to use e.g. labour massage, breath work, guided visualization, affirmation statements and vocalisation, use of heat and water
  • Tag teaming with your partner so that they can rest, eat, go to the toilet or just take time out if necessary!
  • Emotional support and reassurance about what is happening.

She knows just what to say to help you let go into the work of your labour and she also knows when to be silent.

 

A Doula also offers you unconditional emotional support during labour and birth. She can support you to make informed choices during your pregnancy and birth, by enhancing communication between you and your midwife/doctor. It is a Doula’s role to support you to achieve your goals for birth, and to experience the best birth possible for you and your baby.

 

“I can’t express in words what a fantastic birth experience I had and how much a part of that you contributed to. You provide a wonderful service.”
Alison, Blackburn South

 

Our Doulas would be honoured to be able to support you to achieve the best possible birth for you and your baby.

 

Contact us today on 0404 724440 for a no obligation discussion about your support needs for labour and birth!

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Active Birth Workshop

We highly recommend undertaking the Birthready Active Birth Workshop run by Victoria Marshall-Cerins.

Next Workshop: Sat 15 & Sat 22 March 2014  in East Melbourne (more dates)

Dissolve your fear and leave on an empowered and excited high! One woman left a recent workshop punching the air with confidence! (more)

This 2 Day workshop will enable you to SIGNIFICANTLY increase your chance of a normal or even natural birth. We will explore the amazing design of your body for birth and how you and your partner can optimise it to achieve a safe, satifying and calm birth experience.

The workshop covers a wide range of tools to support your goals for birth, including how to enhance your body’s own anaesthetic release, as well as relaxation for birth techniques like HypnoChildbirth.

The Birthready Active Birth workshop will provide you with:

- a deep understanding of your body’s design for natural birth;

- practical approaches to maximising your capacity for a smooth and calm birth, including achieving deep relaxation for birth through HypnoChildbirth techniques;

- tools to increase the efficiency of your labour, dissolve your fear and enable you to work with your body;

- real birth support skills and techniques for partners to enhance your comfort and confidence to birth well.

This is what previous Active Birth workshop participants say about their experiences:-

“I now feel empowered, excited and in awe of the process.’ Lucille – First-time Mum-to-Be

“I found the workshop incredibly informative and empowering. I feel much less anxiety about the birth and have more confidence in my body’s ability to birth naturally and with minimal, if any, intervention.” First-time mum-to-be

“My confidence to ‘BRAIN’ a situation to help my wife and baby has sky-rocketed. Thank You!” Craig – First-time Dad-to-Be

Booking now for Sat 22 and Sun 23 June 2013 in East Melbourne  register online or call us on 0404 724440

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Testimonials

 

 

Yasmin and Sue’s testimonial…

 

After assisting us to have a wonderful, if long, first birth, we knew you were the first person to contact to be our doula when we found out we were pregnant again. We just could not imagine having another calm and confident labour without you, and again, you enabled us to have the best birth we could have hoped for… but this time the triumph of the labour and birth far exceeded our expectations.

 

Your kind guidance and wisdom as a doula, gave us the tools, resources and support to go into this labour with confidence and optimism. After worrying that the baby’s position was transverse, and then posterior, you gave me the confidence to embrace whatever labour we were presented with: either a fast typical 2nd birth; or a long orgasmic birth if the baby remained posterior! As it turned out, it was the most euphoric yet serene experience I could ever have imagined. Your calm and familiar voice quietly saying the hypnochildbirth words helped me relax through each contraction; you and Phil provided the perfect counter-pressure, acupressure and advice when and where I needed it, and you knew just when to move from one birthing tool to the next.

 

Each night I still listen to your voice on my hypnochildbirth CD to go to sleep; and I re-live that wonderful feeling of fullness in my birth canal the few minutes before Yasmin was born. The jubilation of knowing we just used your words, my breath, and that blessed bath to birth our beautiful girl is an experience that will be with me forever. You will always have a special place in our hearts and lives. Thank you Victoria.

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How I prepared for birth after my unplanned caesarean

My work as a doula started only after I had experienced the birth of my second child Bailey, which was a natural vaginal birth into water.  The birth of my first child Karl was by caesarean section after a cascade of interventions in my attempt to have a normal vaginal breech birth.  Becoming a busy mother did not afford me much time to stop and think back on whether I was happy with how it all ended!  Certainly my peers gave no indication that there was anything wrong with how Karl was born.  So I just took it as normal to have birth ‘happen’ that way and suppressed the disempowered feelings that lay dormant inside, until I was pregnant the second time around.  Suddenly everything inside me reactivated and I had to look good and hard at how I was going to birth differently, and better, this time.   

 

When facing birth after a c-section women may be even more unsure of what normal birth really is and whether they’ve even got the goods to make it happen!  On top of that birth memories can manifest into fears and worries that want to hold tight in the body and mind.  I for one was unsure.  How was I to trust and have confidence in my body when I thought it didn’t work for me last time! 

 

For me, meeting with my midwife and having a debrief about the caesarean birth was so important to my understanding of what happened, how, and why.  I asked for my medical records from the hospital and read them over with her.  She could help me decipher them.  I felt enlightened by my realization that my body does and can work well.   Other birth professionals such as doulas coaches and counsellors can also help with this process.   

 

I realized that I was also carrying a different baby than last time.   It too might have a different effect on labour and birth.   That too gave me confidence to approach this next birth positively.  

 

Another factor into the equation were my new skills that my mothering experiences gave me.   I knew better how to make an informed decision, how to stand up for my rights (and my child’s), and explore other options with curiosity.  I could see it was my responsibility to plan for what I wanted to have happen. 

 

Attending a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) support group and information night was also a pivotal point in trusting the natural birth process again.  It dispelled the myths around the uterine scar.  It outlined the risks and benefits of both caesarean and natural birth and the processes attached to both options.  To realize I was not alone in my struggles also heartened me.  This gave me the confidence to make up my own mind and move forward with less hesitation. 

 

I could not yet see the medical model’s strong hold in maintaining its way of doing things.  But I felt the need to avoid it unless it proved itself necessary.  I booked into an independently run birth centre (Women’s Health and Birth Centre Santa Rosa California).   Sadly, for women birthing in Melbourne this model of care is not an option currently available.  The next best choices to consider are: to have a homebirth, register in a one-on-one midwifery program, book into a birth centre, use the public hospital system and lastly, for all the above, employ an independent midwife or doula to give you continuity of care and support that you may otherwise miss out on. 

 

It was finally in contrast of the two experiences that I could see the difference, and feel the difference.  Not just because the second birth was vaginal (although that was a wonderful outcome) but of how I chose to approach my birth preparation the second time around.

 

Keep in mind a few helpful points (and add your own ideas):

 

  • Obtain prior birth records
  • Explore / understand what may have caused your prior caesarean birth.
  • Look at how you can increase your confidence and belief in your capacity to birth vaginally.   
  • Ask – Do you know how the birth process evolved to get to that point? And why?
  • Discuss the issues with your care provider, trusted support and other professionals
  • Explore what you see as the benefits of a vaginal birth this time?
  • Seek out your support options to explore further.  Eg peer support group, VBAC workshop, your care provider, independent midwife, experienced doula, birth counsellor

 

By Erika Munton

 

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The Partner and the Doula

30 odd years ago partners simply weren’t allowed into the birthing room. It was not considered their place. Instead, they may have been found pacing the hospital corridors or holed up in the pub!

 

Fast forwards to a 21st Century context and partners are EXPECTED to be at the birth. Not only is their continuous presence required, but the dad-to-be is also expected to be able to provide effective emotional and physical support and act as an advocate for the woman’s preferences. We often forget that birth can be an emotionally exhausting time for partners. They are also having a baby, and being at the birth will entail being with the woman through possibly the most physically intense experience she has ever lived through.

 

Providing effective continuous physical support to a labouring woman is also a very demanding role. When a doula works as the sole support for a birthing woman she often finds it physically and emotionally exhausting. Victoria says, “I find that on the day following a birth, my body aches with the physical effort of supporting the labouring woman.”

 

When a woman gives birth, particularly for the first time, her body may require many hours to stretch and open to bring her baby safely into the world. In many hospitals, the staff team has the responsibility of caring for a number of labouring women at the same time and is not able to provide continuous support to individual women. For a partner working by himself, supporting the woman is a marathon task, and he does not have the wonderful endorphins provided to the woman by her body, relieving her pain and rendering her unaware of the passage of time.

 

It is worth considering whether this support role is actually too big for just one person.

 

The presence of the Doula enables the partner to participate in the birth at his comfort level, playing the role he wants to play. The Doula can model support techniques for the partner to use and they can share this hard work according to the partner’s needs and preferences. A doula can prepare food as necessary, and provide reminders to both the partner and the woman to eat and drink. When the partner needs a break to attend to his own needs, he can be assured that the woman will be supported through every contraction by the doula.

The Doula recognizes that no one can fully replace a woman’s partner at the birth because of the unique love connection which exists between you. The emotional support and comfort that the partner can bring to the woman during labour is of a quality no other human being can provide. The Doula understands that this support is essential to the woman in labour and by doing the physical work of heating up the hot pack, filling the bath, applying counter pressure to the lower back, or taking photos, she enables the partner to focus their full energy on providing this wonderful form of support and attention.  Traveling through birth together in this way is an experience that can bring a couple even closer together, reaffirming their connection, and providing an intense memory of the depth of their partnership which can last a lifetime.

 

“You gave my husband the priceless gift of being able to enjoy that day through guidance and support. What an honour it was to have found you and have you share and support our family on our most important day. Thank you will never be enough.”

Diane, North Blackburn


By Victoria Marshall-Cerins

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Facing your fears and concerns

Getting clear on what you really want to create and experience in your life can be a very rewarding exercise.  It can bring with it though the reality that changes in your life may be necessary and in turn that can be a challenge to some people.  Our beliefs, our values, our behaviours and our sense of being in a resourceful state can be shaken up and give us the feeling of difficult times ahead.  Yet, if we ignore that voice inside of us (our intuition or our gut response) saying that ‘I want better for myself’ we could be compromising what will truly give us confidence and the skills to journey life, personally fulfilled. 

 

I have seen it benefit the birthing woman and her partner to define what it is they actually want to get out of their birth experience in connection to how they want that to influence their on going life journey. 

 

In the grand scheme of life, labour and birth is a day (give or take), and intentions for a vaginal birth or even a natural birth require planning, preparing and follow through to action.  It helps to live now in the way you want the birth to happen. And you are likely to feel more satisfied with your birth if you’ve faced your every day challenges along the way – creatively? with new courage? in your own style? stretching past your comfort zones? Etc.

 

Changing patterns of belief and behaviour may not be a walk in the park.  People can feel uncomfortable, vulnerable, exposed, moody, needing of support, unsafe and feel physical, mental and emotional effort….’hmmmm’, the similaries to the challenges that birth asks of us seem rather clear!!!  So….

 

1        Be prepared for an onslaught of challenges around the issue/pattern you wish you change.  Observe yourself. 

 

2        Ensure you have supportive people around you who are aligned with your new intentions and can keep you accountable and encourage you during your change.

 

3        Think through the times in your life the existing issue/pattern arrises and set up a different situation around them so that you are less likely to follow the same path.

 

4        Consider reflection times/time outs/meditation/prayer to focus you more sharply on your intended goal and to help boost your energy levels.

 

5        Write down the positive attributes you possess that will be tools you can use to achieve a new pattern of interaction.  Look at how you have used them in the past or are already using them.  Then apply them to your current challenge. 

 

 

We can’t know the outcome for any birth, but we do have control of the choices we make (even if our choices are limited).  We can control our attitudes in how we embrace our challenges each day and how we use our experiences to influence our lives.  A doula can be there as support and encouragement as you face challenges and choices. A doula can be there for you as you go on creating and practicing new ways of thinking, responding and behaving in pregnancy.  And a doula can be there for you as you take the skills you have been practicing into your birth place.  If you face your fears and concerns now it will be helpful in achieving an empowering and satisfying birth experience. 

 

By Erika Munton

 

 

 

 

 

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Keeping the Balance

 

 

 There is a balancing act you are doing when you take on this journey towards a vaginal birth or even a natural birth.   A balance scale can be a useful picture to keep in mind; on one side you have the birth process and on the other the birth culture. 

 

Process – I see this as the normal physiological way women give birth, we have populated the planet well, and every day over 300,000 women give birth worldwide.  It’s a natural part of our sexual cycle and on a cellular level the knowledge of how to do it is within us.  The birth ‘process’ is a natural one  - that requires of you to do the inner work of trusting yourselves as you let your body feel labour and the birth, to allow yourself to be guided by your body and to surrender to the sensations. 

 

Culture – Our culture is the 21st century, Melbourne Australia.  How is birth managed and viewed in our culture?  How are we supported in this day and age to persevere through a challenge or through physical pain, or to do something out of the norm?  How is motherhood viewed and valued?  It takes a bit of conscious thought to work this through.   This can have you reading books, researching information, gathering up the evidence of what could happen to you, when, why and how.  This is the external work of finding out the facts and getting savvy, resilient and determined about where you stand in all of that. 

 

The disparity between the process and culture can feel enormous to a pregnant woman and her partner.  It is not always easy to find the balance.  Usually in the 2nd trimester the scales are tipped towards exploring and understanding our birth culture.  By the 3rd trimester the scale begins to tip towards the birth process.  As the birth draws nearer it is better for the pregnant woman to direct her attention to what her body needs to do to bring her baby into her arms.  

 

There can be challenges along the way because there are changes you are making. That can bring with it effort, new feelings and new experiences, which can raise a whole variety of emotions.  We can be afraid of information and we can be empowered by it.   We can be afraid of birth or we can be empowered by it.  So remind yourself of the journey you are on and check you are keeping a balance.  That in itself will be very rewarding! 

 

How might you go about doing this?  There are many and varied ways to go about this;  take away unhelpful self-judgement; don’t compare yourself to others, instead follow what is important to you; slow down enough to observe if your thoughts and feelings sit well with you and take courage to act as you see best for you and your family.  You can add the rest……

 

By Erika Munton

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Our Doulas

Victoria Marshall-Cerins

I am ’Mummy’ to two wonderful children, Anna (8) and Leo (5) and am a fully qualified Doula and independent Childbirth Educator, you are welcome to visit my childbirth education practice at www.birthready.com.au.

After the birth of my first child Anna, which was an extraordinarily powerful and transformative experience, I trained as a Childbirth Educator with Andrea Robertson, Birth International. I decided to train as I felt that I wanted to support more women to experience the best possible birth they could get and to achieve a birth who’s memories they would cherish for a lifetime. I have been supporting women and their partners during labour and birth since 2002. Then in 2004 I brought my son Leo into the world and he showed me how incredibly peaceful and in control birth could be.

Meeting the challenge of my labours’ intensity has brought me unmeasurable personal growth. My children and their births have brought a firm and unwaivering trajectory to my life, the pursuit of the vision that one day all women will be excited about the possibilities of Birth and that our culture will support them to reach for the best possible beginning for every child.
  
As a Doula my aim is to support you to birth with profound satisfaction. Through the provision of information, I facilitate your right and ability to make informed choices about your care during pregnancy and birth and so to take ownership of these experiences. Through increasing understanding, I aim to build your confidence in the birth process and your innate ability to bring your child into the world with ease. Through the development of skills, I aim to equip you to birth in your own way however that unfolds, within a 21st century context of medical technology.

I am deeply honoured that you might consider me for this very privledged role.

Please feel free to contact me at victoria@birthready.com.au or on 9808 7464.


 

 

Erika Munton

I am a mother of 2 lively boys, experienced doula,  NACE accredited childbirth educator, life coach and NLP practitioner.  I have attended births in Australia and U.S.A for over 13 years.  I support your right to make an informed choices regarding where, how and with whom you give birth.  My desire is to see you and your family confident in yourselves, to grow in life skils and to exprience birth with love, health, support and satisfaction. 

To find out more about me and how I can support you to have the best birth possible, go to www.birthsupport.net.au

I will give you the continuity of care that supports you through the choices, challenges and celebration of birthing your baby and becoming a mother. 


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Together we work to:

*  Build trust in your natural mothering abilities

*  Understand the birth culutre we  live in

*  Make informed choices

*  Experience an empowering birth and

*  Feel resources and ready for the ongoing    

    journey of motherhood.




I embrace life in a manner which also journeys me alongside the challenges and joys birthing women face:  not shying away from change, being open to vulnerable feelings, trusting that ive got what it takes, working hard, being excited about new experiences etc.

My life, along with my partner of 20yrs, has seen me travel and worked abroad, owner build our strawbale home in Ringwood, home educated our boys for over 10 years and move me onwards to better ways in supporting the women I meet. 

Please feel free to also email or call me at info@birthsupport.net.au  9720 8058 or 0407 685 933

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