What is a full-spectrum doula?

If you’re here, I imagine you are probably aware of what a doula is in the context of birth and postnatal support. Doulas are most commonly known for working with women and their families, providing continuous physical, emotional and informational support through positive pregnancies, birth and the early days of parenthood. However, we see pregnancy and birth as just one part of a full spectrum of reproductive experiences and bring this model of care to any pregnancy discourse and outcome. Given all this we consider ourselves to be full spectrum doulas.

But what is a full spectrum doula?

In short, a full spectrum doula is one that offers support across the full spectrum of reproductive experiences. We trust women and their inherent strength to make the best reproductive decisions for themselves, offering witness, companionship, information, resources, advocacy and support. Here are some of the ways that our full spectrum ethos influences our work as doulas and the support we offer:

Conception Support

Every pregnancy has to start with conception! As full spectrum doulas, we can support you in looking at your physical and emotional health and wellbeing before you are even pregnant, helping you to be in the very best place before heading into any future pregnancies. For some, growing a baby isn’t easy and not every pregnancy and conception journey is plain sailing. We can be there to guide and support you through these possibly challenging times.

Abortion Support 

We are pro-women and pro-choice, providing non-judgemental, compassionate support, focused solely on nurturing your needs throughout your experience. We can provide one to one support before, during and after your abortion, depending on the method chosen and the support we offer is always completely tailored to your needs and wishes.

Birth Doula

As your birth doulas, we will provide continuous support for you and your family throughout your pregnancy, birth and the early days with your newborn.

Miscarriage and Stillbirth Support

We offer both emotional and practical support to families experiencing loss. We hope you know that your loss matters and that we can be here to support you through this time and help you through your grieving process.

Postnatal Doula

The first few weeks following the birth of a new arrival is often a bit of an overwhelming whirlwind. As your postnatal doula, we will provide non-judgemental practical and emotional support for you and your family, helping you to adjust to life with a new baby.

Holistic Support

In addition, we recognise that each of these reproductive experiences are significant but also interconnected and we bear this in mind throughout. For example, a previous baby loss experience may or may not influence how you feel about your pregnancy and birth and this could have an impact on your needs and the type of doula support you want. As full spectrum doulas, our support is always holistic and women-centred. We support you as a whole person, and see you as more than just your current pregnancy and birth.

We’re always up for chatting about the way in which we support women so if you’d like to learn more about what we do, please get in touch.

Much love,

Lauren, Christine & Elle x


Being indie doulas

When looking for a doula locally, women are frequently directed towards Doula UK, a membership association of birth and postnatal doulas in the UK. You will notice however that none of the Greater Manchester Doulas are listed in the Find a Doula directory of doulas, as none of us are members of Doula UK. We are proud to be independent doulas!

Snapseed (4)Why are we independent?

Being independent is an important part of our ethos and is very much reflected in the way that we work. As independent doulas, we value independence and autonomy, not just for ourselves, but more importantly for you too.

When we chose to be fully independent, we chose:

  • a commitment to ensure that we are completely women-centred; offering non-judgemental support to women remains at the heart of what we do,
  • to work with doulas who shared the same philosophy of reproductive experiences and how this impacts the support we offer,
  • to work alongside like-minded women who will support and mentor each other with compassion and without judgement, helping each other to be the best doulas we can be.

What does this mean?

As independent doulas, we have no agenda and no interest in serving any kind of authoritative body – we answer to nobody but you. Rather than trying to balance the way we work with being part of a body that we don’t fully align with, we are now able to support women in a way that is completely focussed on their needs with no outside limitations.

There are many myths about independent doulas and they are often criticised for various reasons – they do not following a code of conduct, are not required to keep their knowledge and skills up to date, are not part of a mentoring program, do not work with insurance, are not part of a membership community where they continually learn and develop.

Whilst we cannot speak for all indie doulas, we can say that every Greater Manchester Doula:

  • Has completed an initial preparation course and regularly seeks out CPD opportunities to learn and grow as a doula.

We believe that as doulas, we are so much more than the courses we have taken but we are also passionate about birth and reproductive experiences and for us the learning never stops. We are always reading new research and taking part in courses that support and expand our knowledge, and are more than happy to talk about this.

  • Is not just part of a doula community but one that completely reflects their ethos.

Part of the reason we chose to work together is because our philosophy of reproductive experiences and the way in which we support women is very much aligned. We know that when we reach out for support from each other, it will come from someone who really understands who we are as women and as doulas so we are supported to develop and grow in a way reflects our views and ethos.

  •  Values mentoring as a continuous practise.

We see a value in mentoring, not just at the beginning of our doula journeys but throughout. We continually reflect with each other on the way in which we work and on specific experiences of working with women. We use our individual experience as doulas to support each other and take new learning from every woman that we work with.

  • Has appropriate insurance.

We all have up to date insurance for the work that we do and use written contracts to ensure that everyone is in agreement about what is expected of them.

  • Is committed to following the Greater Manchester Doulas’ Philosophy and Code of Conduct.

An important part of being independent is being able to follow a philosophy and code of conduct that fully reflects who we are and what we believe in.

Get in touch if you’d like to chat more about our work as indie doulas!