What is Doula? What is required for a comfortable birth?
The pregnancy process and the start of labour is a different, exciting and unforgettable adventure for everyone. Having a baby growing inside you, giving birth and getting to know the world with your child, is a new story every day, even a new book every day. My adventure started with a childbirth course, and it is a process that has been shaped in different countries. by different people and different cultures.
When I joined to the prenatal course, our doctor advised us not to listen to anybody’s birth story. That's why I don't write about my own story. We had an interview with Doula and Childbirth educator Ayşegül Demir Çorlu. We've talked about what to do during pregnancy to have a comfortable birth.
Can we call Doula the birth coach? Can you briefly describe Doula?
When we say “coach”, childbirth is perceived as an act that requires external management, but in fact, birth is not such a thing. When we say “we coach” them, unintentionally we become unfair and disrespectful to the woman. Doula is a professional support person. Doula provides emotional, psychological and physiological support to the mother during pregnancy and childbirth. She meets with the pregnant woman and her partner.
So doula learns about their preferences and needs, what kind of birth the family wants, what kind of support they expect from doula during pregnancy and childbirth. They talk together about to-do's for a relaxed and healthy birth. We can also call doula as “advocate of the pregnant woman during labor”. Doula helps pregnant women to communicate her wishes to the healthcare professionals so she has a comforting role.
Should we start working with doula at the beginning of pregnancy? Or is there a certain week to start?
There is no specific week limit. We usually meet around the 30th week and we need to arrange the next meetings in these weeks, we plan to work accordingly. After the 30th week, I attend an appointment that she has with her midwife or doctor.
In the Netherlands, pregnant women interact most with midwives. During the prenatal appointment, we talk about the birthing process. When we tell them that I will give one-to-one continuous support during labor, healthcare professionals also become relaxed. There is such a thing, they may not always be present with the pregnant woman during labor. The midwife is usually in charge of her medical duties. Besides I give active support to pregnant women both emotionally and physiologically.
In our first meeting around the 30th week, first I learn about the ideas of the pregnant woman and her partner about pregnancy. I note down their worries, anxieties, and details about her health. How are they preparing for labor? How is it going? What are their preferences? Do they have a birth plan? Do they have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth and baby care? In this first meeting, I usually start giving physical support with a foot massage. If the pregnant woman has a different demand for massage or exercise, we can shape the meeting accordingly. Foot massage lasts for about 1 hour, it helps to release toxins from the body, reduce edema, reach a relaxation of body and mind. The feet are very important in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Certain points on the feet are in communication with other parts of the body. Other parts of the body also become relaxed when I give a massage.
The foot massage I give before the 37th week is different, the massages I give after the 37th week are different. We do not do some massage applications before the 37th week. After the 37th week, there are certain points that facilitate the labor, if the pregnant woman demands it, I also step there. There are no side effects. We meet 2 times on average with pregnant women. I give massage, we can also do breathing exercises, energy work or imagery/deepening exercises at each meeting, depending on the needs.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have a bachelor's degree in Economics from Bosphorus University. And I worked in the financial sector for a while, but I thought that this job didn't quite fit me. Meanwhile, I had a master's degree in Information Technologies from Sabancı University, and I worked as a Freelance for a while.
Then my son was born. I was very worried during pregnancy. My doctor advised me to join a childbirth preparation course. I was looking for prenatal yoga classes before, İstanbul Doğum Akademisiyle That was how I met.I started yoga in the 15th week of my pregnancy. I continued to practice yoga every week until labor and I experienced lots of benefits. In the meantime, we joined childbirth preparation classes with my spouse. I experienced mental relaxation with this course.
I learned about childbirth, the physiology & working of the labor. I continued my preparation for childbirth with breathing, deep relaxation and massage techniques. I experienced a joyful birth.Then I thought about helping the mothers who gave birth so I chose this path. I was receiving emails from Istanbul Birth Academy about their events. One day, I received an email about Birth With No Regrets- Childbirth Educator and Doula Training Program. I said to myself “why not?” and I started my training in Istanbul Birth Academy.
I've been in Eindhoven for 2.5 years. For the first year, I experienced the “expat confusion”. Afterwards I opened my first childbirth class. Then I launched my own company. I give birth preparation and breathing studies training and Doula serviceNow I offer Childbirth Preparation and Breathing Techniques Classes and Doula services. I have a studio in my own home. I also give private lessons. I love to see relaxed and peaceful couples after the classes.
Can you tell us a little bit about the childbirth classes?
After meeting the pregnant woman and her partner, I give theoretical information about childbirth, then we do imagery exercises. When thoughts change, the reactions in the body also change. We talk about pregnancy beliefs and myths.
We talk about pregnancy beliefs and myths. We prepare mind and body for labor, with Hypnobirthing, breathing exercises, active birth positions, different games and techniques. The most important feature of childbirth education is the repetition and imagination, and the transfer of knowledge and experience to body records. The pregnant woman is actively preparing for childbirth using the techniques she has learned in the classes, and when labor starts, she gives birth easily, trusting her own instincts. The training takes 12 hours in total. We divide 12 hours into 2, 3 or 4 days
As a Doula, what do you recommend for a comfortable labor?
Our biggest deficiency in urban life is movement, pregnant women should move as much as possible. If they have to sit in front of a computer, they can sit on the pilates ball. This is very important for the pelvic muscles. As natural movements decrease, the chance of labor to progress naturally decreases. Deep squats during pregnancy and toning the inner thigh muscles both strengthen the body and make it easier for the baby to descend.
They should walk at least 1 hour every day and eat healthy. I also recommend them to join prenatal yoga or pilates classes regularly. Most importantly, they should consider these months of pregnancy as a preparation process for both childbirth and parenthood. Because pregnancy is a process in which they are born to motherhood and fatherhood while waiting for their baby. If they appreciate pregnancy with this awareness, then many things in their lives will evolve towards better and more beautiful. Thank you.