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Table 1 Issues, doula activities, identified overarching theme and subthemes

From: “Being the best person that they can be and the best mum”: a qualitative study of community volunteer doula support for disadvantaged mothers before and after birth in England

Issues for pregnant women and new mothers Volunteer doula activities Subthemes, reflecting potential impact on women Overarching theme
Low mood
Non-judgmental, non-professional active listening
Emotional availability
Overcoming stress, anxiety and unhappiness Supporting the mother to succeed and flourish
Lack of information
No family from whom to learn skills
Providing evidence based information on pregnancy, birth, baby care
Supporting development of parenting skills
Not giving advice
Giving relevant public health messages
Becoming knowledgeable and skilful
Poor self-esteem
Lack of confidence
Low self-efficacy
Undervalued and overwhelmed
Giving time, attention, respect
Respecting choices
Showing care and concern
Supporting manageable steps to success
Developing self-esteem and self-efficacy
Unfamiliarity with healthcare system
Lack of confidence
Difficulties communicating with healthcare professionals
Helping with questions
Helping with understanding
Using services effectively
Social isolation
Low awareness of services
Facilitating links with the community
Supporting social contact with other mothers
Becoming locally connected