Birth can be a positive, satisfying and empowering experience for women and their partners. Having a baby is the most precious, life-changing time and all too often parents come away from it feeling traumatised and disappointed by their experience. I think that every woman deserves emotional and practical support before, during and after childbirth and believe that having doula support can give you the experience you hope for.
In preparation for the birth I offer at least three antenatal appointments to talk through any previous births (if applicable), your hopes, fears and expectations of the labour ahead. Together we will put together some birth wishes, allowing for the unpredictability of labour, but ensuring that your desires/needs are met and realised. We will spend time looking at the options available to you and your partner. I will be on call 24 hours a day once you reach 38 weeks pregnancy.
Once in labour I will be in constant attendance to give you confidence, help you make informed decisions, facilitate communication between you and the medical staff, remind you of your wishes and to support both you and your partner. I will stay with you after the birth until mother and baby are settled, feeding happily.
A few days after the birth I will return to check in on the new family, supporting feeding if appropriate and giving both partners an opportunity to debrief. I am available by phone and text in the first couple of weeks after birth to provide virtual support and signposting options.
I have a vast library of pregnancy, birth and postnatal books, DVDs etc for loan. I also have a professional grade Birth Pool available for rent, as well as slings, carriers and wraps.
I often work in conjunction with another hugely experienced doula, Anne Morley-Fletcher, providing a really valuable partnership to new parents.
I won Doula of the Year at the MaMa Conference, 2017 – nominated by clients, colleagues and peers. It is a huge honour!
Please contact me for my current prices and availability.
Here’s what some of my clients have to say
My wife and I decided to work with a doula because we wanted the birth of our first child to be a special day with the two of us fully supported and correctly informed on the options available to us. We met with Sophie and found her to be highly skilled and hugely supportive. Each question we had was answered knowledgeably and in a manner that we could understand. Every session we had with her left us feeling more and more comfortable and excited about the birth. Never once did she try and push opinions on us – merely listening to what we wanted and advising how to get what we desired. Every meeting with her was enlightening and prepared us in every way for the birth in ways that the NCT antenatal class never did. Taking the aforementioned NCT classes taught us very little and we found ourselves sharing with members of the class many of the important things we had learned from Sophie.
Without Sophie we would never have known that anything other than what the hospital suggested was an option. Having a doula – and specifically one as experienced, informed and charming as Sophie – changed what is often the hardest day in any woman’s life into the most wonderful, special experience. Sometimes midwives can clash with doulas as they don’t like to be told to do anything different to what they are used to. Every midwife we came in contact with raved about Sophie, many even commenting on her incredible stamina and how much they had learned from her. This has continued post-birth as midwives have visited us and described her as “amazing”, “incredible”, one also adding: “she really taught me a few things I’ll never forget”. During any birth, there are a lot of things happening at once but Sophie ensured that we stayed in control of everything the entire time. As options arose, we were often rushed for an answer. Sophie always ensured we had time to discuss our options with one another and came to a conclusion we were happy with. My wife had a 36-hour labour and Sophie joined us minutes after we said we were ready for her and stayed with us until the glorious end. As it gradually transpired it was going to be a very long labour, we tried to insist she go home for a bit but she happily remained with us, for which we will be eternally grateful because we could not have coped without her. In the end, thanks to Sophie, all our wishes came true. A beautiful little boy was delivered naturally with no drugs despite insistence by hospital staff that it was necessary because of the length of the labour. He came into this world naturally and was being hugged skin-to-skin by my wife within seconds. In short, I cannot recommend Sophie enough to any couple that wish the happiest day of their lives to be as in control and wondrous as ours was. I am happy to be contacted for further information / references. I can honestly say that I hope she remains a part of our son’s life. And I can think of no higher praise than that.”
— James Mullinger, father of Hunter
I truly believe that every pregnant and labouring woman should have, and would benefit hugely from the services and emotional resource offered by a doula.
Upon announcing I was pregnant the first time, I was deluged with birth horror stories. Family and close friends seemed to view the news as an invitation to try and scare the life out of me with tales of medical interventions, emergencies and near death experiences. Turning to television was also a terrible mistake. There I saw birth as a procedure to be endured and managed, with the mother as a patient, often labouring on her back whilst hooked up to beeping machines. Birth was played out as a drama with the potential for disaster only a heartbeat away.
Having said that, on discussing my options with a midwife at my first booking in appointment (and expressing my reluctance to give birth in hospital), she suggested I watch an episode of a series called Midwives which had just been aired and which showed a calm home birth. This birth also turned out to be doula supported and that led me to investigating the role of a doula and deciding that this support was something I wanted during my pregnancy. Some online research led me to Sophie and on meeting her, both myself and my husband knew this was the right decision and she was the right person for us.
Any question, no matter how trivial, Sophie was (a) available and (b) able to answer. There was never a case of worrying about something until the next midwife appointment, Sophie was on hand antenatally to provide information and reassurance in equal measure to the extent that by the time we attended our NCT classes, we were the most clued up couple in the room. She also knows a lot of very helpful people and services, and was able to advise on everything from cranial osteopaths to finding breastfeeding specialists or explaining tongue tie.
And when my daughter arrived, at home, after a calm, overnight first labour of nine and a half hours, her birth was everything I had hoped for. There was a moment of panic for me when I realised that I was pushing and the midwives had not arrived yet, but that was fleeting because the follow on thought was – but we’ve got Sophie here, she’s seen this all before, we will be fine.
I have been very fortunate to have Sophie as a doula for the birth of both my children. They were different, but equally wonderful experiences. I feel lucky that my labours were uncomplicated and believe this was largely because I was free to just concentrate on labouring, whilst my husband was free to concentrate on me, without also having to answer medical questions or make decisions under pressure. My second birth was in hospital because of possible neonatal issues with our son, and even there we were able to have the birth experience we wanted because we felt fully supported with Sophie there and empowered to do so. I cannot recommend her highly enough!”
— Vicky Brannan, mother of Elsie and Eddie
I am a City professional and used to dealing with international projects and high pressure situations. While those skillsets make you organised, they do not prepare you for the extraordinary emotional, physical and life changes that pregnancy and the arrival of a baby will bring. Sophie Brigstocke was the doula who guided me expertly and compassionately through those seminal moments and the myriad of questions to which I needed answers. She has a level of knowledge that is extraordinary and is constantly expanding her areas of expertise, which she also shares by training and mentoring other doulas. She has the most amazing network and put me in contact with other experts who could assist with my needs. She champions breast feeding and nurturing birth techniques and offers advice which is solidly based on research and the best interests of mother and child, but is non-judgemental and supportive at all times. Sophie is someone who is actively and positively moving forward the broader perception of a doula’s role, through her seminars to health professionals, lectures around the world and by her excellent, well-earned reputation with mothers such as myself.
I wholeheartedly nominate her as Doula of the Year, as there is not a Doula of the Decade category!”
— Sara, mother of Jamie
I can never really express how grateful I am for your unbelievable support during the birth of my beautiful daughter Violet. To have a natural birth with this pregnancy was my absolute aim, but whether I would achieve it was a question that lurked in my mind. But I did it! All because of your strength and support. Thank you also for the support you have given me post-birth. I have felt relaxed and able to bond well”
— Sally Nash, mother of Violet