A RECRUITMENT drive is underway for more volunteer doulas in Bradford

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and having to adapt the way they work, the service continues to be in high demand.

It's hoped more volunteers can be recruited, with socially distanced training to begin in January next year.

A doula is a person who supports women through labour and birth, and/or after she has her baby.

Aliya Fazil, Bradford Doulas programme manager, said: “Bradford Doulas have adapted new ways of supporting women during the pandemic, including ways to make virtual meetings accessible, ensuring key maternal health messages are reaching women, creating visual birth plans and working with interpreters and checking in on women’s wellbeing.

"This role has never more been needed in such a unprecedented time for pregnant women of Bradford.

‘’Adapting as a service has had great benefits for volunteers too; by offering regular virtual training, upskilling doulas to support virtual delivery, doulas mentoring other doulas, and creating new opportunities that help retain volunteers by building on their passion and skills. Our volunteer doulas have truly amazed us by their commitment to help and continue to volunteer throughout the pandemic.’’

One volunteer doula, Jane Longthorn, said: “I had only met the expectant mum that I was supporting once before lockdown happened. I was absolutely gutted because I am such a tactile person and I was so worried that because I couldn’t be at her side, I wouldn’t be able to give her the support that other mums had, had from me previously.

“There was no home visiting, no meeting up in person, no hospital visits, and only one birth partner allowed at the hospital – so I could only provide support over the phone. I had to adapt and ensure the mum could still rely on me. I was mainly there to ease her worries, and we also went through how the Covid-19 changes would impact on her pregnancy and how she should look after herself once the baby was born.

“The mum gave birth to a baby girl in April and although I was not able to attend the birth, I was in touch regularly around the time of the labour to support her. For the six weeks after the birth of her daughter, we continued chatting regularly over the phone about how she was getting on with her baby during the pandemic.

“On our final call, I told her how sorry I was that I hadn’t been able to be next to her throughout. She told me that just by knowing that I was there at the end of the phone made all the difference to her. That was so lovely to hear.”

To apply to be a Bradford volunteer doula, contact Minupar for an application form on 01274 223232 or email minupar@carlislebusinesscentre.co.uk. The deadline for applications is Friday, November 13.