Doula FAQ
questions and answers about my doula work in the Netherlands

Midwives and doulas are two types of professionals that can both be part of your birth team. Although both professionals might attend births their primary roles and responsibilities are very different. A midwife is a medical professional, who is caring for and supporting physiological pregnancies and births. Their main job is to inform, educate and support pregnant people and through the means of medical care ensure the health of both mother and baby. It is also their responsibility during pregnancy and birth to call in a gynecologist, should there be any further medical assistance necessary.

Historically, women have generally been attended and supported by other women during labour. Since birth has moved into the hospitals and because our societies are built of smaller families than before, the experienced female companion who would come over once labour starts is not available in every community. When looking for a name for this modern version of a person providing labour support the Greek word δούλα – meaning servant woman – was used.  A doula is a non medical professional, experienced in the physiology of labour and birth and offers continuous support, encouragement and comfort measures. Doulas do not check vitals, do not advise on medical procedures and do not speak to medical staff on behalf of their clients.

The most important extra element that a doula brings into birth support is continuous presence during birth. Whereas a midwife might come and go to check on other patients in their care a doula remains with the mother during birth, offering relaxation and breathing technique support, as well as comforting services like massage, and assistance with labor positions.

My main job as a doula is to provide information during pregnancy and to offer unbiased emotional and physical support during birth. I have no more than 2 clients a month so when I am on call I can can offer my undisturbed attention for my clients.

If you are interested in the evidence for doulas in detail, (“continuous support during labour may improve outcomes for women and infants, including increased spontaneous vaginal birth, shorter duration of labour, and decreased Cesarean birth, instrumental vaginal birth, use of any analgesia, use of regional analgesia, low five-minute Apgar score and negative feelings about childbirth experiences”) then read this article on the Evidence Based Birth website: Evidence on doulas

Regardless of where you are planning to give birth in the Netherlands, there will be midwives and/or doctors taking care of you. They are working is shifts – usually 8 hours – to be able to stay alert and attend to your medical needs, should they occur. However, they sometimes need to leave you to attend others during their shifts so they rarely can stay continuously. In a hospital delivery ward they are taking care of multiple people at the same time, if you labouring at home they might also come and go to check on you and other clients in their care until the birth of your baby is imminent.

Me as a doula on the other hand support you during the entire duration of the birth, regardless of its length. I stay in contact with my clients in early labour as well and usually meet them at home during this time. When it is time to go to the hospital we go together, so I am also able to support them on the way.
The longest birth I have ever supported lasted 46 hours (9 hours at home, 32 hours in the hospital), during which 4 shift changes occurred at the hospital.

To read more about my doula services click here. 

Because midwives and doulas have different responsibilities and duties, together with your partner we make up of a great birth team!

As a doula I am not replacing your partner, I am there to support them, too. Your partner knows you best and as a doula I could never replace that!
If you are expecting your first baby, you are both doing this for the first time. For your partner to be a sole support for someone for 10-20 hours may be physically and emotionally taxing.

I believe partners also should feel safe and heard during the birth of their baby, their experience matters. They should be involved and enjoy the events unfolding as much as they feel comfortable without feeling the need to stay constantly vigilant.

During our preparation for birth I pay special attention to address worries, fears and wishes of partners and inform and educate them about possible ways of physical and mental support.
I also bring in my expertise in finding the right words in stressful situations, being familiar with hospital procedures and ways of communicating with medical staff to help you and your partner to navigate your birth experience.

I support both hospital births and home births.
I support my clients in their wishes regarding their labour and birth without judgement and any particular agenda. My role as a doula is to make sure you are well aware of all your options and have all the information necessary to be able to make decisions before and during your birth. I support you if you change your mind and do my best to ensure you are heard. I do not make any decisions for you during your birth, I do however remind you of what you wished for yourself and for your baby and help you and your partner work through fears and self-doubt.
Yes, most certainly! I am specialized in supporting families in the hospital. In the Netherlands doulas are welcome in any hospital as sole or additional support to birthing persons.
Yes I do. I speak English, Dutch, a little bit of German and my mother tongue, Hungarian.
Yes that is also an option. If you are not sure yet that you would like to hire me as a doula for your birth or you know you only would like to have private birth preparation sessions I offer a 2 x 2 hours consultation in your own home. To read more about the birth preparation click here.
Some hospitals in the country are still only allowing 1 support person next to the birthing person into the delivery rooms. There are however more and more, which are opening up to also allow 1 additional person, a doula, a friend or a relative to support  parents during labour and birth.
This is a map of all the hospitals in the Netherlands, hospitals marked green are the ones where doulas are also welcome.
In Amsterdam at this moment there are 4 hospitals welcoming doulas:

  • OLVG West
  • OLVG Oost
  • Amstelland Hospital
  • Amsterdam UMC location AMC