Doulas in China

Doulas in China

March 22nd is celebrated as World Doula Day and marks the beginning of the International Doula Week (March 22nd to March 28th). Today I would like to share with you about Doulas in China + introduce some of the doulas I have met and have had pleasure to communicate with (for now online).

Let’s first talk about who a doula is, and what the word actually means (because I have had people ask me “doula – who? What’s that?”)

A doula is a companion, a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth. A doula helps achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible. Usually a doula is not a medical professional and she doesn’t treat nor offer medical advice. However, there are many doulas who have trained as medical professionals first, and then decided the role a doula suits them better. An actual translation of the word is “servant-woman” (modern Greek). However, it has since lost its original meaning evolving into much more.

There are few types of doulas, amongst them birth and postpartum doulas being the ones supporting families the most.

Usually when a family decides to have a doula present at birth or in a postpartum chapter of a mother-baby life, they would meet up with a few, and choose the one who can support their unique views better. Doulas are also there to help a family advocate for themselves, to guide the family towards seeking medical help when necessary, and offer emotional and physical support.

China is such a special place in many ways. There has always been a strong support within a family for pregnant women throughout pregnancy and birth. It is quite common for a family to have a mother’s mother or a mother-in-law to come and spend time before birth, and at least the first month post birth. There are also postpartum companions here called “yuesao” whose job is similar to what a doula does but it is a little more than that – a yuesao usually lives in with a family for the first 26-30 days, caring for a mother and a baby, cooking for a mother, and doing some light housework instead of a mother. A postpartum doula usually doesn’t live in and checks in on a family based on a chosen plan in the first 6 weeks. Birth doulas are not very common in China at the moment since all births are done in the hospitals, with homebirths being banned by the law. However, some families still choose to have a companion with them during birth in hospitals (mostly they are expat families here, but some local families too).

So, why have a doula?

  • Emotional support. So important to have someone understanding you and offering you lots of care and help
  • Advocating for you. Navigating through local hospitals and rules is quite hard. Also, giving birth in a foreign country could take an emotional toll on us, especially when some of the rules don’t make sense or we end up being pressured into one thing or another. A doula can help assess the situation and offer guidance and information that can help us make a more educated birth or postpartum care choice
  • Education. A doula will help you navigate through piles of information available and support your choices.
  • Physical support. During labor a doula can help you with some ways of alleviating pain and discomfort, making your birth as smooth as possible in given conditions. And post birth, she will show you how to care for your baby and yourself both physically and emotionally.

Being a postpartum doula myself, as well as a breastfeeding counsellor, I am often asked whether I know of any other doulas. So I have made a call “out” and have been able to locate so far other 8 doulas and doulas in training who reside in China and offer their services to families. There are 9 of us now and we have a small group “Doulas in China” where we discuss some cases, share experiences, offering each other support (because our work takes up a lot of energy and we do too need to be supported).

I am very happy to introduce Doulas in China. Please feel free to reach out to us and we would absolutely love a feedback about our work if you have worked with us before! Some of them are also experts who have previously contributed to this blog. They offer online services and some of them may travel to your location (you would need to ask them about it first).

Lisa (Chengdu)

Lisa (Chegdu)

Birth doula (DONA),

RN,

Breastfeeding counselor (My China Solutions)

Language: English, Mandarin Chinese

Contact: Wechat – ChengduDoula

*****

Andrea (Ningbo)

Andrea (Ningbo)

Birth doula (CBI),

Childbirth educator,

Breastfeeding counselor (in training)

Languages: German, English, Mandarin Chinese

Contact: [email protected]

*****

Alessia (Beijing)

Alessia (Beijing)

Birth & postpartum doula (CBI),

babywearing consultant,

infant massage instructor (in training),

dance fitness instructor,

ISSA Youth personal trainer,

AHA for CPR-AED & First Aid

Languages: English, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French

Contact: Wechat – alessia_chizzoniti

*****

Anastasiya (Shanghai)

Anastasiya (Shanghai)

Birth doula,

Pregnancy yoga instructor,

Hypnobirthing instructor

Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English

Contact: Wechat – anastasiyaburik

*****

Ruth (Qingdao)


Ruth (Qingdao)

Birth doula (DONA),

Childbirth educator

Languages: English, Mandarin Chinese

Contact: [email protected]

*****

Shany (Shenzhen)

Shany (Shenzhen)

Birth doula,

RN,

Breastfeeding counselor

Language: English, Hebrew

Contact: [email protected]

*****

Varya (Zhuhai)

Varya (Zhuhai)

Postpartum doula,

Breastfeeding counselor,

AIMI (First Baby’s Massage)

Postpartum sealing ceremony facilitator

Languages: Russian, English, Mandarin Chinese

Contact: Wechat – radianthome; [email protected]

*****

Paula (Beijing)

Paula (Beijing)

Fertility, Birth and Postpartum Doula (in training),

Fertility Awareness Educator and Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner (in training)

Languages: English (native), Mandarin (conversational)

Contact: WeChat – choicefertility

*****

Susan (Ningbo)

Susan (Ningbo)

Doula (DONA)

Childbirth educator (CAPPA)

Languages: English, Mandarin Chinese

Dina (Guangzhou)

Dina (Guangzhou)

Birth doula,

Pregnancy yoga instructor

Language: Russian, English

Contact: Wechat – dinoklebedev


Public or Private?

Pricing

English service available?

.

Are foreign doctors available?

.

Does hospital direct-bill insurance companies?

Varya is a contributor to havingababyinchina.com. She is originally from Russia and has been living in China for over a decade. She is a Mom of 3 , an educator (Montessori, Positive Discipline), postpartum doula, baby massage and perinatal fitness trainer, breastfeeding and lactation specialist. She blogs at creativeworldofvarya.com about multiculturalism and life in China.

2 comments on “Doulas in China
  1. Donna Smith Holst says:

    Wonderful group. Wishing you all busy practices and safe happy births.
    Susan was an amazing addition to our team here in Canada when Hayley; who is now 23; entered the world in 1997. She will graduate as a Paramedic in April.

  2. ABRAHAM says:

    Helpful article, and thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply to ABRAHAM Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*