Two UK filmmakers are trying to change the world's view of birth by coordinating 165 worldwide screenings of their DOULA! documentary film featuring positive births, timed to coincide with World Doula Week that starts Thursday 22nd March.
"When you ask parents-to-be what their birth will be like, most describe fear, pain, a dramatic dash to hospital and a highly medicalised delivery"
(1888PressRelease) March 22, 2012 - Brighton, UK - A filmmaking couple are trying to change the world's view of birth by coordinating hundreds of screenings of their documentary as part of World Doula Week starting this Thursday 22nd March.
The couples' 50 minute documentary called "DOULA!" features three doula-supported births shown in intimate close-up detail. Doulas take their name from the Greek word for "woman-servant" and are hired birth companions. Although not medically trained, doulas provide practical and emotional support through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.
The filmmakers Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford, a real-life couple and parents to a four year old, have encouraged doulas around the world to set up their own local screenings. Anyone could host a screening anytime during the week at any location for no fee. The result is over 165 screenings happening across the globe from Alaska to Panama City, from the Scottish Highlands to Israel, from Eastern Europe to South East Asia.
The film's producer / director Toni Harman says "Around the world, when you ask parents-to-be what they imagine their birth will be like, most describe fear, pain, a dramatic dash to hospital and a highly medicalised delivery. Our "DOULA!" film proves birth doesn't have to be like that, particularly if the parents are supported by a doula."
"Whether a woman has a natural delivery or a c-section, the film proves that whatever the circumstances, birth can be extremely positive and even beautiful. If we can present a positive image of birth and show that it is achievable for every expectant parent, then we can start to shift negative perceptions. If this happens at every screening, then we can start to transform the image of birth on a global scale. That's the dream."
To coincide with World Doula Week, a new survey finds that mothers are less likely to require medical interventions during birth when supported by a doula and are more likely to attempt and continue breastfeeding.
The survey published by Doula UK gathered data from 105 doulas and their 1,106 clients. The survey found that only 12 per cent of doula-supported births required medical interventions, such as the use of forceps, ventouse or C-sections, compared to the latest UK national figures of 37.3 per cent.
When it comes to breastfeeding, the results are even more dramatic. For women who were supported by a doula, 93 per cent attempted breastfeeding and 70 per cent were still exclusively breastfeeding after six weeks. This compares to the latest figures from the UK's Department of Health where 74.1 per cent of mothers attempt breastfeeding and just 46 per cent are still exclusively breastfeeding at six weeks.
Rebecca Schiller, a Doula UK Spokeswoman says, "Our recent survey of nearly 1200 births demonstrated the profound impact that a doula's support can have on decreasing medical intervention rates and increasing breastfeeding rates. With this in mind it's timely and important that World Doula Week is raising awareness of what our doulas can offer."
Notes to the Editor
"DOULA!" is an independent documentary made by Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford through their production company Alto Films Ltd.
"DOULA!" features two home water-births and a third birth that progresses to a caesarean section where the parents are still shown to feel very positive about their birth experience.
To view the DOULA! trailer on youtube (watched over 280,000 times):
The births were all filmed in the South East of England and midwives were present at all births. The film makes it clear that midwives also provide practical and emotional support to the parents and the film shows that it is the midwives who actually deliver the babies.
World Doula Week runs from 22-28 March. The week sees over 160 screenings of the "DOULA!" film and other "Meet the Doula" events around the world.
For a world map and details of "DOULA!" film screenings for World Doula Week: http://oneworldbirth.net/doula-week-screenings/doula-screenings/
For more information on "DOULA!" and to watch the trailer (viewed over 250,000 times on youtube), visit:
World Doula Week coincides with the Spring Equinox, which in a number of cultures represents the return of fertility. For more information on World Doula Week visit: http://worlddoulaweek.com
Toni Harman's and Alex Wakeford's next project is ONE WORLD BIRTH; a documentary and free educational video resource featuring the world's leading birth experts to help make parents-to-be an expert in their own births. Experts filmed include leading academics, midwives, authors, anthropologists, OB/GYNS, doulas, campaigners, educators and parents. For more information visit: http://oneworldbirth.net
To find out more about Doula UK and its network of doulas:
For more information please contact Toni Harman at Alto Films Ltd on
+44 (0) 1273 747837 or email info ( @ ) altofilms dot com