: My doula is a dudeBy
: Tsafi Sa’ar Published in
: Ha’aretzDate of issue
8 May 2006Commentary Abstract
The attractive, slender man sits on a physiotherapy ball and rocks gently to and fro. "I'm a doula," he says. The pregnant women and their partners sat facing him without raising an eyebrow: They knew that the birth preparation course would be led by a pair of birthing coaches - a doula and a "doul." But nearly every other woman we told about this phenomenon expressed consternation: "A male doula?"
This is indeed an unusual occupation for a man: Only three of some 2,000 active doulas in Israel are men. One of them, Greggy Bibliowicz, has been working in this field for five years and leads birth preparation courses with his colleague Aliza Grabowski. Like all doulas, he provides support for women before and during labor. He stays throughout the birth and provides assistance in the form of shiatsu massage, physical therapy, shaking and rocking, and manipulation of meridians in the shower and the Jacuzzi.
Hospitals in Israel differ in their approach to doulas. While some permit women in labor to employ their services, others forbid them from entering the delivery room. But Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer maintains a list of doulas whom patients may hire - at no small cost, of course. Bibliowicz, age 39, appears on the list.