WOMBS AGM Minutes and Chairlady report – 16 February 2016

WOMBS AGM Minutes 16/02/2016; 09h30 – 11h30 kindly hosted at Origins Hospital, Panorama.


Present: Helen Behm, Karen van der Merwe, Nicolene Steyn, Gerda Scheepers, Janine Doerheit, Farha Moosa, Shamim Allie, Olenka Christie, Michelle van Rhyn, Bronwyn Holmes, Vania Truter, Heidi Padoa, Nicole Evans, Annette van Niekerk, Kim Cadle, Tarryn Walton, Tamryn Muller, Lana Petersen, Nicolette Hadden, Catherine Brown, Harriet Came, Mari Le Grange, Aneesa Rasool, Andrea Kuti, Gayle Friedman, Charlene Yared-West.

Apologies received: Lee-Anne Anderson, Candy Trew, Christine Black, Stephanie Canipe, Shahieda Simons, Lindsay Harley, Debbie Engelbrecht, Judy Tobler, Shirley Erwee.

Voting in of the Committee 2016

●     Chairperson: Gayle Friedman (nominated by Nicolette Hadden, seconded by Charlene Yared-West)

●     Vice chair, Eats, Uniforms & Badges, Whatsapp Group Admin: Janine Doerheit (nominated by Nicolette Hadden, seconded by Charlene Yared-West)

●     Bursaries & Education SADT: Michelle van Rhyn (nominated by Gayle Friedman, seconded by Olenka Christie)

●     Treasurer: Bronwyn Holmes, (nominated by Michelle van Rhyn, seconded by Olenka Christie)

●     Website & Mailchimp: Kim Cadle (nominated by Janine Doerheit, seconded by Nicolette Hadden)

●     Minutes & Website Assistant: Charlene Yared-West (nominated by Harriet Came, seconded by Nicolette Hadden)

●     Volunteer Co-ordinator & Pear Tree Project: Tarryn Walton (nominated by Gayle Friedman, seconded by Charlene Yared-West)

Opening Talk

Sidney shared his vision for Origins Hospital, which will be functional and accepting clients for birthing in early April, the date still to be confirmed. They are however accepting clients for consultations with the midwives, but births are not taking place at the facilities yet. He emphasised that the hospital is VBA2C friendly. They are also the first hospital to use a digital baby tagging system. They will not be employing doulas as originally put forward, as they do not have the budget for it at this time. As time and budget allow, this might change in the future.

Sidney took all doulas present on a walking tour of the hospital, showing off the labour and maternity ward. The hospital is beautifully and very richly designed in a luxurious homely style, which French antique furniture and spectacular chandeliers. No cost was spared with the decor and furnishings, including imported birth pools.

Breathe Posters

Gayle directed the creation of the BREATHE posters to be put up and around public and private hospitals, trying to reach as many mothers as possible. The idea was inspired at Christmas 2015, when the Pear Tree Project visited Somerset Hospital to hand out goodie bags. The poster is designed as a ‘word cloud’ with the word BREATHE translated into 11 official languages. Gayle saw the need for this to be put on walls in hospitals as she noticed how mothers and even caregivers need to just stop – and breathe – and this gives them the time to reflect and relax. For mothers this is obviously very important as breathing helps with relaxation and can be beneficial for progress in labour.

Paying Subs Fees to WOMBS

In the future, WOMBS would like to include short profile pieces on each doula, but being a time-consuming thing to do, for now listings are what is given when members pay subs. Members are also given access to the member’s area of the WOMBS website, and are then allowed to buy badges and uniforms. Members are also sent emails with updates and meeting minutes and information. Doula subs are payable by the end of each year. Please send your proof of payment to info@wombs.org.za and use your OWN NAME AND SURNAME as the REFERENCE. (Do not use the word ‘wombs’ as your reference.)

●     It must be noted, that everyone who has paid subs will be listed on the website – everyone who has not – WILL NOT be listed on the website and will be taken off/removed from the listing.

●     New members will automatically receive an email with all of the details on it; details of what must be listed on the website (e.g. name, area, website, etc.)

●     How to get onto the website: Username = name+surname and the Password = surname123

Doulas in Durban and Johannesburg

Nicolene Steyn mentioned that there was nothing much happening in terms of doula get togethers / awareness raising in Johannesburg. Nicolette Hadden suggested that Nicolene take it upon herself to set up a group in Johannesburg for support.

Doulas in Durban are really good examples of how to set up a community in the city you live in. Well done to our Durban Doulas who have come together to host their own meetings in KZN. They also have a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/501682226675656. We encourage doulas from other provinces to follow their example. Well done ladies!

WOMBS is willing to support where necessary and can assist with marketing materials.

Doula Insurance

Contact Indemnus for Doula insurance; R260 per year.



WOMBS Doula Behaviour

●     Doulas must remember their position when at hospitals and home births. As doulas we are non-medical. We must respect Doctors and Midwives and the role they play – and even though we may not agree with certain practices, etc, we cannot voice our opinions to them. There are channels to follow in those cases – and doulas must not take situations into their control. As doulas we are there for the mother and father, providing physical and emotional support and natural pain relief methods – not more than that. We are also able to assist with the first breastfeed, but it is also important to leave after the birth – and not to hang around the maternity ward. After the birth, the role of the doula is complete – and she should leave and allow the maternity midwives/nurses to take over at that point. We can refer on to lactation consultants or help the mother when she gets home, but we must stay within our scope of practice. Hanging around the mother post-birth and doing multiple hospital visits can upset hospital staff – and be seen as interference. This must be noted.

●     New doulas request more support from older doulas. Whatsapp relationships can be the answer as Lana Petersen mentioned that it is difficult to allow a trainee doula into a birth, as having an extra person there who has very little experience brings a whole other dimension, which is not always helpful.

●     Doulas are encouraged to inform mothers of their options, but to be very, very careful when dishing out advice to clients – as this can be detrimental if the caregiver does not like the information coming from the doula. Therefore, doulas should highlight options, instead of giving advice, so that the mother can make up her own mind about issues. And, mothers must also be reminded not to say “my doula said…” to their caregivers – this can put doulas in a bad light. Encourage mothers to be informed on birth-related topics, point them to evidence-based sources and encourage them to attend La Leche Meetings (for example).

●     Doulas are seriously discouraged from transporting mothers to the hospital for transfers. If it is necessary, then an indemnity needs to be signed.

Working at Vincent Pallotti Hospital If you work at VPH, then you need to make sure you have shown your ID and WOMBS certificate to the hospital manager, who will make a copy for their files.
Submitting Invoices to Medical Aids

Doulas are encouraged to tell their clients to submit doula service invoices to their medical aids, so that the constant flow of invoices will encourage the medical aids to start recognising doulas as the norm, not the exception.


If you are volunteering hours at any government hospital – share that you are going to do so on the whatsapp group so that more doulas can perhaps join you. We need to clock up all volunteer hours so that we continue to receive funding from Johnson & Johnson. Volunteer hours must be inputed via a downloadable form on the website and sent back to WOMBS to record.

Doula Professional Recognition and Education

On this subject, SADT is growing and gaining momentum. Irene and Gayle met with Robyn and Anna to stamp the Trust. Now the move is to create a SETA once the trust has a tax certificate. Going forward, the trust needs to raise R150k.

News from Irene

●     Irene is missing some of her doula course materials. PLEASE RETURN THEM!

●     J&J Medical Options & 4 DVDs

●     Special Women

●     Birth Video

●     Follow Me Mum

●     The Birth Partner, Simpkin, 2008

●     The Doula Book, Klaus, Kennell & Klaus (2012)

●     Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, Simpkin, Whalley, Keppler, Durham, Bolding (2010)

●     The Labour Progress Handbook, Simpkin & Ancheta (2011)

●     Your Amazing Newborn, Klaus & Klaus (2000)

●     Beyond the Blues, Bennett & Indman (2010)

●     The Doula Business Guide, Bennan (2010)

●     The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Wiessinger, West & Pitman (2010)

She needs these especially for training purposes in PE.

●     Dr Naledi met with Gayle and Irene to talk about the WOMBS response to the article. Irene questioned her about why doulas were not allowed access into Mowbray, but at Somerset they were welcomed. Irene said that this situation only emphasised why it was of such importance for the work of a doula to become a respected profession. Said Irene; “I gave her [Dr Naledi] the research on why women who are poor deserve better treatment…”Dr Naledi at the Health Department has been in touch with Irene about doulas.

●     Irene will be hosting 2 doula courses in July for doula training – interest is gaining momentum.

●     The Daily News interviewed Irene about doulas.

●     Irene says to be careful not to go out of your scope of practice when it comes to antenatal classes.

We say Goodbye to Nicolette Hadden on the WOMBS Committee

Thank you Nicolette for being such a wonderful addition to the WOMBS committee team. We love you and appreciate all your hard work. Thank you for all you have done to grow WOMBS and for your reliability.

Educational Updates

●     October 2016 – Irene can only accept 4 doulas for this – so apply soon!

Doula Support Group

●     Nicolette Hadden and Lana Petersen have created a Doula Support Group for debriefing purposes. The first one will take place on Thursday 3 March, 10am – 11.30am at Stark Ayres Garden Centre, Liesbeeck Parkway. All Welcome – including non-WOMBS members/doulas.

●     If you would like to set up a support group of your own with other doulas, feel free to do so – there is no restriction on this. Be sure to share the support group details on the whatsapp group so that doulas can attend if they want to. We are in this together.

Chairlady Report February 2016

Well another year has flown by.

Thank you once again all Committee members for the dedicated time you give to WOMBS while caring for your own Families and working as Doulas. Giving, giving, giving.

We honour you.

Irene for never giving up on your passion and belief in Doulas at births.

Bronwyn our longest serving Doula and keeps our finances organised and controlled.

Nicolette who has served WOMBS with diligence and perfection and done the work of 3 people alone. You are stepping down from the Committee and I especially will miss your input.

Kim for being our mail chimp operator…and always willing to assist. You will now be assisting with website.

Michelle who has taken over JnJ bursaries and financial contribution to WOMBS…job well done.

Janine for managing uniforms,badges,and catering at meetings. Janine is our whatsapp Admin.

Charlene Thank you for taking notes and minuting all meetings.

Taryn who assists volunteers and does so much incredible work for ones less prevledged.

Catherine we welcome you onto the Committee managing emails and Membership.

WOMBS has grown and I have to honour past Chairlady Lisa and then Lorna who together with Bronwyn always and Annette and then Sarah who contributed so much on her own.

We now have 8 Committee members assisting and this works so well.

Doulas well done for your Love, Care and Patience with all the Women and Families you support. I wish I could treat you all.

SADT is registered and slowly gaining strength with Anna Marie Song from DOSA , Robyn Sheldon from Mama Baba, and a new Member from Bloemfontein uniting Education Standards and for Professional Status .

Thanks Debbie Regensberg for your guidance.

Irene and I met with the Health Dept and are talking positively about future Doula integration.

We had the Sensitive Midwifery Conference and Midwifery and Birth Conference this past year – what a success.

Origins are opening new doors to Birthing. We thank them for hosting this meeting and we wish you every success.

30 Flyers for new members and renewal of Membership fees due by the end of January each year. Members will only be listed on whatsapp and website if they comply .We will add any new members at the end of June. Email Catherine at info@wombs.org.za to be added once your subs have been paid.

The WhatsApp group chat is for use between 8am and 8pm and Sat 8am to 1pm; unless urgent. Private chats if possible where necessary. Let’s respect one another’s time out.

Indemnus Insurance check our Website.

Doulas respect your place with your Clients in Hospitals and when working with Independent Midwives. Doulas may share information and be caring, but may not challenge medics and staff. Our actions influence one another and rather debrief and support one another then offend what can’t be altered. Some Medics really see our purpose others still resist.

We are in this journey of changing care for women in labour and gentle birth together.Blessings & Love, Gayle Friedman.

Diarise Upcoming WOMBS Meetings, Venues to be confirmed

●     7 May 2016

●     16 August 2016

●     8 November 2016


The meeting concluded with a thank you to all who managed to attend the AGM.