In National Breastfeeding Celebration Week (26 June) Better Start Bradford is launching its Bradford Doulas project, which offers practical and emotional support to expectant families six weeks before the birth, during labour and six weeks after the birth, through trained volunteers.
Big Lottery funded Better Start Bradford will further enhance the existing Bradford Volunteer Doulas Service to support more expectant women living in the Better Start Bradford area (Bowling & Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton).
Doula is the Greek for ‘wise woman’
Doula is the Greek for wise woman. Doulas do not give clinical or medical advice or interfere with medical or clinical aspects of labour. Instead they offer emotional & practical support, acting as a ‘professional friend’.
The Bradford Doulas support women to make the best choices for themselves and their babies, helping them to achieve a positive birth experience and building their knowledge to enable them to make informed decisions about childbirth, nutrition and breastfeeding. Support from Volunteer Doulas can also connect families into network of other support services.
The service has already supported 162 women their babies and families over six years with a pool of 45 Doulas. Better Start Bradford funding will expand this pool by training a further 54 Volunteer Doulas and will aim to support 198 more families by the end of 2020.
Aliya Fazil, Project Manager, Bradford Volunteer Doula Service said: “This funding from Better Start Bradford means that now the project will be not only be able to meet the demands of women requiring a Doula, but also those wanting to be Doulas.
We are achieving a higher rate of breastfeeding mums at birth and at six weeks than national average
“Women who use a Doula benefit greatly. Overall evidence has shown that women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and Caesarian-sections. We are also achieving a higher rate of breastfeeding mums at birth (77%) and at six weeks (52%) compared to the national average (72% at birth and 43% at 6-8 weeks).”
Michaela Howell, Better Start Bradford Director said: “For the past six years, Bradford Doulas have been demonstrating that the support their Volunteer Doula’s provide expectant families is invaluable. Good pregnancy and birth experiences can be a great foundation to build a happy parent infant relationship so we are thrilled that we are able to enhance this successful service to pregnant mums in the Better Start Bradford area.”
Bradford Doulas are currently recruiting for new Volunteer Doulas. For an application form ring 01274 223232 or email [email protected]