Why British Doulas
In Britain we have a different medical and social system from most other countries. In the area of birth and post-natal care we already have midwives, obstetricians and health visitors caring for mothers. The doula in Britain needs to fit in with these professionals, helping and supporting the mother without overlapping or hindering the work of those around her.
In America the health system is different and the role of the doula is, therefore, quite different from what it is over here. You can find out more about American doulas at www.dona.com, the website of the Doulas of North America.
However, the British post-natal doula is similar to a model which has been very popular in the Bronx area of New York.
'Comadres', as they are known, will stay with the new mother full-time for a few weeks after the birth, supporting her and the family. After that she helps the mother part-time for a while until the mother is able to cope on her own.
Holland also has women performing a type of doula role. However, the Dutch model often involves young women who may not have had their own children. They work very closely with midwives - every Dutch mother has her own midwife. In that country the doula helps new mothers for months with childcare, social support, some housework and cooking.