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what is a doula?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a doula as “A woman who gives help, support and advice to another woman during pregnancy and during and after the birth”. As your doula I support your labour and birth wherever it happens and whatever it involves – home birth, hospital birth, water birth, birth after epidural or a c-section birth. For me, the role of the doula is about enabling a woman to feel positive about giving birth, no matter how or where her baby is born, so she can look back on the experience with pride.

antenatal and birth doula support: I am passionate about the importance of positive experiences of childbirth for a woman, for her partner, and for their baby. I believe in the need to support and empower women to remain engaged in decision-making throughout the process of labour and giving birth. 

I offer you unconditional support throughout your pregnancy; but you get to define what support you need, and how I can best provide this as your doula. I act as a guide to you and your partner in navigating the sometimes bewildering array of evidence-based information about childbirth and birth options. I listen to your hopes and fears, offering non-judgemental information to support you both in making informed choices about the labour and birth you want. I travel alongside you as you make this unique journey to motherhood, and I am there to support you and your partner throughout.

postnatal doula support: Giving birth is a profound experience; it is transformative to your sense of self, and as such it brings with it joys and challenges. In various cultures around the world this period immediately after birth is revered. A new mother’s space is protected while she and her baby adjust to life together; bonding and establishing breastfeeding. I believe in the importance of ‘mothering the new mother’ during this time of great vulnerability, and it is this I offer to do for you.

As your postnatal doula I provide you and your new family with reassurance, and nurturing support. I can offer you encouragement and practical support with feeding your baby, particularly over establishing breastfeeding; you may find breastfeeding challenging to begin with, and sometimes it can take time for you and your baby to work out the best way to do this! I provide information on a range of local resources you can access in the early days and weeks to support you on your breastfeeding journey, and I can sign-post you to additional resources around safe bottle-feeding if necessary. Together we work out what you need; what is most useful to you and your family during these early days with your new baby. I provide practical help and emotional support to make this experience both a positive and a memorable one for you.  

do you need a doula?

I am a Doula UK Recognised Birth doula, and I also offer an an independent Postnatal doula service. For more information about the benefits of having a doula give me a call on 01271 344344 or 07714307066, or you can email me:

I’d love to hear from you…

Hilary Pengelly – antenatal, birth and postnatal doula