Testimonial

“I chose to have a doula with me during my labour as I felt the constant support of someone who had experienced birth would be beneficial.  I was not wrong and afterwards vowed never to birth without a doula and also to become a doula!   My doula was amazing and invaluable for many reasons but what I loved was that she believed in a woman's body and ability to birth and this increased my trust and confidence in my own body. She was a constant presence and support, she didn't have to run off to help anyone else, she was there just for me (and my hubby!) - we had become comfortable with each other prior to the birth. She knew my hopes and helped me focus on them and she knew my fears and helped me let go of them - I could trust her and she made me feel safe and special. She had wonderful relaxation techniques that really did make me feel more comfortable during labour. I really hope to bring all the above qualities to any family that I support so that they too have the best pregnancy and birth they can possibly have and the best start in life together.”

Jane Strutt
Birth Buddy mum to Samuel aged 3

Fun, free & friendly taster course

4 sessions starting Monday 11th September 2017, 9.30 am to 12.30 pm 

Being held at a Basildon venue, for more information please call

01268 525758 or email info@parents1st.org.uk

What the roles involve

What is a Pregnancy Pal?

A Pregnancy Pal is a trained and experienced volunteer  who offers support through pregnancy and up to  3 months after the birth.The role of a Pregnancy Pal is to:

  • Offer one to one support in a parents own home
  • Take part in outreach activities in local settings• Promote health and wellbeing from early ante natal booking
  • Help expectant parents to prepare for labour and birth• Support parents to feel prepared and confident about caring for their new baby
  • Help build confidence and self esteem• Make sure parents know what is available for them and their baby
  • Assist parents-to-be to meet up together and support each other
  • Enable easy access to information, useful services and attending appointments
  • Use an empowering approach, offering suggestions and alternatives but supporting the mother to have her own voice

What is a Birthing Buddy?


A Birth Buddy (or doula) offers the same support as a Pregnancy Pal through pregnancy and until baby is up to 3 months old. They also act as a trained and experienced birth partner who accompanies a woman through labour and childbirth. The additional role of a Birth Buddy during labour and childbirth is to:

  • Be on call for a month around the expectant mothers due date
  • Listen, support and respond to the mother’s physical and emotional needs
  • Facilitate communication between the mother, her partner and the professionals
  • Stay with the mother through labour and childbirth
  • Facilitate a positive birth and post-birth environment

Research has shown that having a doula present at birth has a number of benefits:

  • Shortens first labour by an average of 2 hours
  • Decreases the chance of c-section by 50%
  • Decreases the need for pain medication
  • Helps fathers participate with confidence
  • Increases success in breastfeeding
  • Improves bonding with the baby and reduces postnatal depression

What is a Practical Parent Pal?

A Practical Parent Pal is a trained and experienced volunteer who offers emotional and practical support after the baby is born and until the baby is 3 months old.The role of a Practical Parent Pal is to:

  • Listen with respect, in a caring and sensitive way, to the story of the baby’s birth and how the mum is feeling now
  • Take on essential, practical, household jobs so mum can rest and enjoy getting to know her new baby
  • Encourage parents to take time to understand and respond warmly to the needs of their new baby as they find out about these
  • Encourage parents to take the time to adjust to their new role
  • Promote health and wellbeing for mum and baby – enough rest, relaxation, exercise and good healthy food
  • Build parents’ confidence and self-esteem – essential for a new baby’s development and wellbeing
  • Make sure parents know what is available for them and their baby – signposting and introducing them to useful activities/services in the area.

Parents 1st volunteers do not

  • Replace or exclude support from existing family or friends
  • Replace the midwife, health visitor, or give any medical advice
  • Give direct advice
  • Continue working with the family after the baby is 3 months old