Frequently Asked Questions
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What is a doula?

The word doula comes from the Greek, meaning “woman servant or slave”. However, women have been supporting women through childbirth for centuries, longer than written evidence can show.

Doulas are non-medical professionals trained to provide continuous support for the birthing person and their partner, before, during, and after birth. The support is not only physical in the way that doulas offer natural pain relief but extends to the emotional, spiritual, mental, and energetic areas of the mothers' experience. 

Doulas are not specific to the type of birth you have, and all their skills, knowledge and techniques are modifiable for the birth setting you are in.

Doulas do not conduct routine medical practices, and instead provide evidence-based information and research for their clients to make informed choices, and to encourage couples to ask all the right questions. A doula is experienced and trained in birth for protection, comfort, and confidence for the birthing couple. They are concerned with the health and experience of the birthing person.

Does a doula replace my partner?

In no way does a doula replace your partner. A doula is an extension of the support network, as no two people in that setting have the same role. A doula offers further education and confidence for your partner as much as they do for you. It can be intimidating for a partner to walk into a room and lack control of their partner's safety or comfort. As a doula, I give your partner the tools and techniques to be more involved and therefore a more active support person for you. It also creates a more satisfying and joyful experience for them.

You may notice your doula and partner switch in and out of roles to allow for breaks, eating, or rest as the hours of labour continue, however, your connection to your partner and your connection to your doula offers you two completely different benefits, both as important as the other.

Is a doula only for homebirths?

Not at all. Your doula can attend births in any space or setting. Whether that is in the hospital, for a planned caesarean, in a birthing centre, at home, by the river, or in the mountains. A doula is there for you.

When should I book a doula?

There is no period you must be in to book a doula. It can be just as you find the news, halfway into your pregnancy or at 35 weeks pregnant. It is clear that the relationship built between a doula and the birthing couple provides support and comfort in the birthing room, therefore having more time to build that relationship and getting to know one another is beneficial.

What areas do you service?

I am based in the Shoalhaven region of NSW. I service the surrounding areas, up to the Illawarra, as well as the Southern Highlands.  I support both hospital and homebirths, private or public.

Having a doula as your sole support person?

I am more than happy to be brought on as your main support person should you not have a partner or family member present for the duration of your pregnancy and birth. Being that my role will be much more involved and present, the package offered and the way it is delivered differs from the regular doula package. Throughout your pregnancy, we will be in contact often and have regular catch-ups to check in on how you are going and feeling.

I still strongly recommend you complete a birthing education class such as Hypnobirthing or Calm Birthing, as having these techniques and practicing them will be a huge advantage for you.

As each situation is so unique, especially within the pregnancy and birth world, please contact me if you’re after a sole support package and we can chat about what you’re needing, am comfortable with, and are hoping for your birth.

Belly Binding FAQ

What is Bengkung Belly Binding?

The Bengkung belly binding method originates from the Malaysian culture, traditionally worn for 44 days post-partum. It includes the wrapping of the postpartum abdomen from hip bones, all the way up to the sternum. This long piece of fabric is often muslin and knotted along the front of your torso to keep secure. Its main benefits include, but are not limited to:
 

  • 360-degree support

  • Assists in abdominal wall muscle retraction

  • Improves posture

  • Stabilizes loosened ligaments

  • Provides support for vital organs to return to their size and position

  • Emotional support: I feel it is underappreciated how much of a woman’s emotions and experiences are stored in the abdomen

  • Supports the body’s natural spine and posture realignment

  • Encourages the excess water and air in the tissues and cells to expel

  • Prevents slouching while feeding
     

The original practice of belly binding does not correlate to the hustle we live within the modern-day. Though it is recommended to wear the bind for 30-40 days, this can be very impractical for the modern mum. I recommend wearing the bind for at least 5-10 days, starting around day 5 for vaginal births, to feel the benefits of the practice.

 

However, you are more than welcome to increase or reduce the duration of which you wear it. As I use a belly binding paste or essential oils, any allergies or known reactions to oils or certain spices and herbs please notify me before your first binding appointment.

A note on Cultural Appropriation

With the many practices that are slowly being incorporated into our lives these days, cultural appropriation has, unfortunately, become common, yet the uneducated effect of people using traditions, rituals or other practices from a culture that is not of their own, and in a way that is not culturally correct or without mention of the culture these practices originate from.

 

Throughout my training, both as a doula and through BreeAnn Moore’s belly binding training, cultural appropriation is a topic thoroughly discussed and understood. I do not claim to offer the traditional Bengkung belly binding practice, as that is of sacred tradition to the Malaysian culture. I have made every effort to ensure the credit for these techniques go to the Malaysian culture and pay respect to my teacher and her mentors for allowing us the knowledge of Belly Binding to share with women all over the world, as they endeavor to support the healing of their postpartum period.

 

Should you ever require further information regarding the origins of belly binding and how to ensure you’re not culturally appropriating the practice, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

How long should I wear the binding?

In the tradition of Malaysian Belly Binding, binding is done for the entire confinement period. This can be from 30-44 days. For the modern-day mother, we recommend wearing the bind for a minimum of 6 hours, ideally 12-24 hours for 5-10 days. This can always be extended if you would like to, however, we find a 44-day commitment to belly binding can be fairly impractical for many.

What makes belly binding different from western postpartum girdles like Belly Bandit?

The Malaysian belly bind is fit to you by someone who has learned and practiced the method. This way, the binding is custom to your body and the way it is changing throughout the postpartum period. The muslin cloth is wrapped from under the chest all the way down below the hips, making it longer than postpartum girdles, and includes more areas of support. As the girdles wrap predominantly around the abdomen, the Malaysian method avoids the extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and organs, and therefore reduces the risk of worsening a prolapse or pelvic floor condition post-partum.  The Malaysian Belly Binding cloth is also a lot more comfortable for the never-ending changing of positions as a mother.


I've heard some women/experts say that belly binding prevents the pelvic floor from healing, causes prolapse, or weakens the abdominals. Is this true?

As with everything in life, each experience is felt individually. If the belly binding is done incorrectly or a girdle/corset type bind is used, downward pressure on the pelvic floor occurs and creates existing weakness more prevalent. The bind is designed to help while you REST. It comes from a culture that uses it throughout a period of confinement. Therefore, if a woman does not rest throughout the binding period, it will hinder the positive effects of the binding.

Prenatal preparation of the pelvic floor is imperative. If it was not a part of your routine prior to birth, it will already be very weak. This is similar to assisted births and episiotomies. As the pelvic floor is in a stage of recovery and healing, it will not feel as strong as you once remember.

If you take care of your body and belly bind correctly (whether by someone else or learning how to do it yourself), there is no need to be concerned. There are some women who aren’t good candidates for belly binding. These include:

  • If you feel excessive pressure or fullness in the vagina after giving birth

  • Have a known uterine, cervical, bladder, or rectal prolapse

  • Experience severe incontinence issues

  • Had recent surgery (cesarean births require a waiting period of 4-6 weeks before binding)



How do I go to the bathroom while wearing the belly bind?

The binding is done under your clothes, from just below your bust to your mid-hip/pelvic bone region. By wearing comfortable, and easy to pull down and up underwear, it is easy enough for you to pull them from under the bind, then pull them back up either over the bind or tuck them back underneath.

My belly bind bunches, rolls, or moves during the day. How can I keep it from doing that?

Belly binding is designed for women who are in confinement periods post-partum and to also encourage you to slow down and rest. You will notice your binding move, bunch, or roll if you are moving. As you will be rebinding each day, this can be rectified. However, for best results, try your best not to move as much to allow the bind to take effect!

Am I too late to belly bind if I'm x-number of months/years postpartum?
The short answer is no. You can still receive benefits belly binding after 8 weeks postpartum. 

Can I still belly bind if I have a c-section?
Of course! We will wait 4-6 weeks after your birth, all based on how you’re healing and recovering. The belly binding paste may not be used or used in a smaller amount depending on your surgery site, and the bind can be put on in a way that is gentler on the incision site.

Can I still belly bind if I have a miscarriage or still-birth?
If you have already organized your belly binding, you are more than welcome to go ahead with it. The bind around the torso provides more than physical benefits to a woman. We hold all our vulnerabilities and emotions in that area of our body, and to feel supported and held can only aid you in your journey. If you would not like to go ahead with the pre-organized belly bind, you can get in contact with me and we can have a chat about it.

What if I want to learn how to belly bind?
That is what I am here for! I have various packages, one where I can purely just show you how to belly bind yourself or show a partner or friend to do it for you. There are various resources online, as well as one that I provide for you in my package.